Types of Field Sobriety Tests

Types of Field Sobriety Tests

Are field sobriety tests always right?

Testing is to be done in a certain manner and training is carried out so that officers understand how to do this correctly. Still, the training that officers receive is not always enough and they may fail to administer the test correctly. Their mistake can lead to an unfortunate outcome for a suspect and can put them in a bad light that they don't deserve. There are many reasons why these tests can be false and it is important to work with a St. Louis criminal lawyer who understands the defense options.

Types of Tests

There are three tests that can be used and these may be done separately, altogether or through the use of two. It is dependent on what the officer chooses to do and they administer these depending on how they see fit for the situation. The three tests include the Walk and Turn, the One Leg Stand and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. The tests will assess for a number of factors that can be influenced by the presence of alcohol. In addition to looking at the outward appearance and physical capabilities of a person in question, an officer will also be looking at the comprehension ability.

Walk and Turn

The Walk and Turn test will require the individual to walk a straight line with one foot in front of the other heel to toe. They will go a certain amount of steps before they need to pivot on one foot and walk back on the line in the same way. During this test an officer will be looking if the person:

  • uses their arms to balance;
  • steps off the line;
  • forgets to walk heel to toe;
  • doesn't pivot;
  • starts before the instructions are finished;
  • can't balance and listen to instructions;
  • has to stop to balance; or
  • takes the wrong amount of steps.

One Leg Stand

The One Leg Stand requires the individual to balance on one foot while the other is in the air. They will need to hold it around six inches from the ground for 30 seconds while counting by thousands. They should not put their foot down until the officer instructs them to do so. An officer will be looking for a number of signs, such as if they have to hop to stay balanced, need to put down their foot, use their arms to stay up or sway.

HGN Test

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, also referred to as the HGN test will be looking at the eyes and reactions of a person. During it, the officer will use an object such as a light or a pen for the individual to follow with their eyes. Both eyes will be tested separately, with three signs looked for in each eye. The first is if they are able to follow the object with their eyes smoothly if it is more of a jerking motion. Next is if any involuntary jerking occurs when the eye is brought out to the side, or maximum deviation. The last indicator will be if the jerking takes place within 45 degrees of the center of the eye. Learn more about how the field sobriety tests and how the outcome of a SFST can be fought by getting in touch with the firm.

Contact Us Today

Get in Touch

If you're ready to get started with your case, we're here to help. Request your free consultation now!


Why Choose Us?

    • 100% Focused on Criminal Defense
    • Experience as Former Public Defender
    • Lead Counsel for Hundreds of Cases
    • Aggressive Approach to All Cases
    • Personal Attention for Every Client

Get Aggressive Defense Now

Criminal charges can jeopardize your entire future. Let our criminal defense team provide dynamic legal protection.

Get My Free Consultation
I would highly recommend Brent When feeling uncomfortable with the public defender in IL, I decided to seek additional information from Brent. I was impressed with Brent's knowledge and experience. I ended up firing my public defender (who was about to have me plead guilty) to hire Brent. After hiring Brent, we reviewed all of the details of my case. He immediately saw "red flags" and was able to investigate my case thoroughly, and in the end filed a motion to dismiss the case. My case was thrown out by the judge siding with Brent instead of the Attorney General from the state. In facing some significant charges, Brent was able to make me feel comfortable and I immediately thought I could trust his knowledge and experience to help me defend my rights in court. I knew he was fighting for me and could prove the charges were false. I would highly recommend Brent if you are need of a competent and professional lawyer to represent you
- Donald
Read more comments