DUI – Standardized Field Sobriety Test

If a person is stopped by a police officer for suspected drunk driving or DUI in San Diego they may be asked to perform a field sobriety test. These tests were researched in 1977 and 1981 and approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to establish the intoxication level of a person. These tests are 65-80 percent reliable when determining whether a person is intoxicated.

Three of the most common of the standardized tests an officer may require you to perform are:

One Leg Stand
While standing on one leg with the other leg raised about 6 inches, the individual is instructed to count out loud for about 30 seconds

Walk and Turn
A person is instructed to walk heel to toe in a straight line for nine steps, then turn and return heel to toe for nine steps back without losing your balance.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
A pen is held up about 12 inches away from the person’s eyes. They are instructed by the officer to follow the pen back and forth with their eyes. If the eye twitches or jerks at 45 degrees, a high BAC is probable.

These tests are aimed to give an officer “probable cause” to arrest a suspected DUI driver.

Some of the non standardized tests include:

  • Put your finger to your nose with your eyes closed
  • Stand with your feet together and tip your head backwards
  • Count the number of fingers that the police officer raises
  • Count backwards
  • Recite the alphabet

In California if a person is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs a chemical test is required, such as a breathalyzer test, blood test or urine test. If a person refuses to submit to any of these required tests their driving privileges may be suspended.

Contact an experience DUI or Drunk Driving Lawyer in San Diego.