An Explanation of the One-Leg Stand Field Sobriety Test

  • Dan T. Matrafajlo
  • Fri Jul 2012
  • DWI,
  • 0

Drunk Driving AttorneyThree of the field sobriety tests that are used by police officers when pulling over drivers on suspicion of drunk driving are considered to be standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This means that there is a particular set of guidelines and testing protocol spelling out the way in which the tests should be administered, assessed, and scored. A New Jersey DUI attorney will be familiar with these tests as well as their limitations.

To be considered valid, the one-leg stand test needs to be conducted on a surface that reasonably fits the following criteria:

  • hard
  • dry
  • non-slippery
  • level

While conducting the one-leg stand test, the officer may look for any of the following signs, which are considered to be indicative of alcohol impairment. The officer may assume a 65 percent chance of the suspected drunk driver having blood alcohol content over 0.10 percent BAC if he or she observes two or more of these signs:

  • putting the raised foot down
  • swaying side to side or back to front while standing
  • using arms to balance
  • hopping

Despite the standardization of this test, there are factors other than alcohol impairment that could cause the signs listed above, which include:

  • health issues such as middle ear, back, or leg problems
  • age, especially for those over sixty-five
  • weight, for those who are fifty pounds or more overweight
  • footwear, especially heels measuring two inches or more

If you have been charged with a DUI, an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer can assess whether the specific tests and other evidence that is being used against you is valid. For legal advice and representation, call (908) 248-4404.

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