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Taking the Mystery Out of Field Sobriety Tests

While it is never a pleasant experience to be pulled over by the police, part of the anxiety comes from the mystery of what may or may not occur. When you are pulled over for a traffic violation and the officer suspects that you may have had one too many, you will be asked to perform a field sobriety test. Here is what you can expect.

One Legged-Stand Test
The officer will request that you stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. You will be instructed to raise one leg out in front of you. The officer will ask you to point your foot up and keep your leg straight. You will be asked to count, out loud, to 30. The officer will be watching you to see if you use your arms for balance, if you sway, drop your foot before you count to 30, or hop up and down.

Walk-And-Turn Test
The officer will ask you to walk in a straight line, making contact toe-to-heel and heel-to-toe. You will be asked to take nine steps in this manner, turn, and repeat the process back to where you started from. The officer will be watching to see if your toes and heels make contact, if you raise your arms for balance, if you are unable to turn evenly, if you stop before taking nine steps, or if you fail to follow the directions. The officer will also ask you to count your steps out loud, making note if you do not.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
Many people do not know what nystagmus is. Nystagmus is an involuntary movement of the eyes in a horizontal motion. The officer will ask you to keep your head still and follow an object with your eyes. While performing the test, the officer will be looking to see if your eyes track the object smoothly, if you move your head from side to side or if you fail to follow directions.

Whether or not you pass the field sobriety tests, you may be asked to submit to a Breathalyzer test. This may be conducted initially at the time of stop with a handheld unit and then again at the police station. By driving in North Carolina, you have given implied consent as part of obtaining a driver’s license. If you refuse, your license will be automatically suspended and the officer may obtain a warrant for a sample of your blood.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI, contact our experienced attorneys. We know how to fight for your rights, and we are here to assist you. Do not attempt to handle this serious charge on your own. Call now.

Posted In: Drunk Driving

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