Given that Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a Criminal Case, police officers need ample evidence for the accused to be proven guilty in court. One of the most common field evidences officers provide is the testimony after a field sobriety test. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has recognized and been implementing this test which includes Walk and Turn, One-Leg Stand, and the Eye Test or Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus.
Walk and Turn
The Walk and Turn test is fairly simple. First, the officer checks if the driver can remain in place on the same position with the toe of the foot touching the heel of the other. Second, the driver will be asked to walk nine steps of heel-to-toe in a straight line, turn around, and do the same, walking back to the initial spot.
The officer checks if the accused can stay balanced while hearing and correctly following instructions. Approximately 68% accurate, this test needs to be performed on dry, evenly leveled land and is considered difficult or nearly impossible to accomplish for the elderly, disabled, and overweight.
The One-Leg Stand is used to observe the driver’s balance and reflex in determining the level of intoxication. The instruction is simple: the driver is told to stand on one foot around six inches off the ground for thirty seconds. The driver also needs to keep both arms on the side and continuously look down. Failure to do so or manifest shaking and sweating will lead to the assumption of DUI.
As you can imagine, this can be fairly difficult even for sober people. Many argue that people put under pressure or those who have naturally poor balance can fail this test. This is why the One-Leg Stand is said to be the least accurate of all three sobriety tests.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
More commonly known as The Eye Test, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus is the newest field sobriety test, but the most accurate among the three. The police officer uses a penlight to check the eye movement of the driver for signs of “Nystagmus,” or rapid involuntary movement. Aside from being caused by a disability or serious eye condition, Nystagmus is often caused by alcohol.
With 77% accuracy, the results of Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus are still not 100% certain because police officers can still make errors in judgement.
Here at the Law Office of Kathy Holton, we advise that in order to avoid potential self-incrimination, it is best to contact your DWI lawyer first before anything else. For further questions on DWI or DUI’s, feel free to call us today and schedule a free consultation so we can personally address your concerns.