Field Sobriety Tests: The Three Forms

DUI Lawyer in Los Angeles, CA

In most DUI cases, before breath and blood tests are utilized, law enforcement officers will use what is known as the field sobriety test. These are a common first way of determining the level of intoxication of the subject. For a long time, these tests were not standardized and were different across the board - varying from place to place. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), however, has since standardized this form of testing and has come up with three different tests - that, when used together, provides an accurate determination of intoxication in 91% of cases. These three forms are the following:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN): This is the most scientific of all field sobriety tests and is used to test the nystagmus of the subject - which is the involuntary jerking of the eye. It is believed that the drinking of alcohol can exaggerate and aggravate nystagmus. To perform this test, an officer will take a small object (such as a pen or flashlight) and will place it before their eyes - moving it horizontally in front of them. They will then watch the eye's tracking and will look for any distinct movement.
  • Walk-and-Turn (WAT): This is considered to be a "divided attention" test that requires the subject to listen to detailed instructions and then perform as asked. The WAT requires the subject specifically to walk in a straight line (heel to toe) for nine steps, turn on one foot and then return back to the starting point of the test. The officer will look for signs of failure which include using the arms to balance, steps off of the line, doesn't take the specified nine steps or stops during the test.
  • One-Leg Stand (OLS): The simplest form of testing is known as the OLS and is another form of a divided attention test. This requires the subject to stand on one leg while raising the other for six inches off the ground - counting until the officer tells them that they are able to put their foot down. Signs of failure including using arms to balance, swaying, hopping to maintain balance or putting their foot down before the test is over.

Why hire a Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer from our firm?

At Okabe & Haushalter, we understand the difficulty that is involved with criminal charges of drunk driving - and we are prepared to go the distance in our efforts to provide a high-quality and aggressive form of defense. We recognize that field sobriety tests are a highly subjective form of testing and therefore often left up to the opinion of the arresting officer. Unfortunately, due to this, it can leave clients struggling from a conviction that had evidence grounded in opinion - not fact.

We, however, are prepared to combat the evidence that you are facing and will fight aggressively to help you obtain the just outcome that you deserve. You can be confident knowing that by working with us that you will have a heavyweight on your side who is looking out for your best interests. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you to combat the charges that you are facing and to fight for a desirable outcome, we encourage you to get the involvement of a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer from our firm.

To schedule your initial case consultation and to learn more about how our firm can help, please do not hesitate to contact a Los Angeles DUI attorney from our firm as soon as you can.

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