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What Are Field Sobriety Tests?

If a police officer has reason to believe you are driving while under the influence of alcohol, he or she may pull you over on suspicion of a DUI. Once pulled over, he or she may ask you some questions and may even ask you to complete a field sobriety test. A standardized field sobriety test checks for signs a person may be under the influence of alcohol but specifically whether it is likely they are over the legal blood alcohol content limit.   There are three primary "tests" that comprise the field sobriety test; the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk-and-turn, and the one-leg stand. Perhaps the most well known of these tests is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. This is often believed by prosecutors to be the most accurate of the three tests when administered according to protocol. The officer will ask you to follow a point with your eyes from side to side. They will be looking for a lack of smooth pursuit. This is where your eyes do not smoothly follow the point, but rather jerk or lag. With the walk-and-turn test, the officer will ask you to walk a straight line, heel to toe, for nine steps. Then, they will ask you to turn on one foot and walk in the same manner back to your starting point. During this test, the officer will be looking for whether or not you follow the instructions, how your balance and coordination is maintained, and whether you deviate from the instructed movements. The one-leg stand test requires the person stand on one foot, with the other foot suspended, for about 30 seconds, while counting. The officer will be looking for signs of imbalance.   Despite the simplicity of their design and execution, field sobriety tests are believed by prosecutors to be accurate when conducted by trained officers and according to the federal standard. Along with the results of any breathalyzer or blood test you took to check your BAC levels, the results of your field sobriety test will be included in the officer's report and can be held against you in your DUI case. If you have been arrested for a DUI, contact an experienced Georgia DUI defense attorney right away. There are valid medical conditions and disabilities that can produce a false positive on a field sobriety test. If you are facing DUI charges, it is important you discuss your case with an attorney, including your test results, to strategize a defense.   Have you been arrested and are now facing DUI charges? Thomas C. Rowsey, P.C. is experienced in DUI defense and will work hard to defend your rights in court. Based in Roswell, GA, Thomas C. Rowsey Attorneys at Law serves those across the greater Atlanta metropolitan area including Roswell, Alpharetta, Marietta, Milton, Cumming, Dunwoody, Johns Creek and Sandy Springs. Contact our office today at (770) 993-5317 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation. Offering expert legal counsel in personal injury, criminal defense and family law, Thomas C. Rowsey Attorneys at Law are here to help.