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What are field sobriety tests?

Field sobriety tests are one of the methods police officers can use to charge you with drunk driving. If you fail they may charge you straight away, or ask you to take a breathalyzer test to confirm their suspicions.

You have probably seen field sobriety tests in the movies and while g they might look funny on screen if you are the one having to perform these tests your primary emotion is likely to be terror.

There are 3 official tests


Experts suggest when you perform all the tests, the rate of accuracy is high. That still does not mean they are always correct. Here are the three tests:

  1. Look at the pen: It could be a pen, a finger or another object that the officer moves about in front of your face. They are checking to see how your eyes react. Some people have medical reasons for being unable to complete this.
  2. Walk the line and turn around: Typically performed using the white lines on the road. You must take 9 steps forward, turn around and come back down the line. Balance issues or injuries could make this harder than it seems.
  3. Stand on one leg: You need to stand on one leg for half a minute without too much trouble. If your balance is poor at the best of times, failure may be a given, especially with the added pressure.

If the police asked you to perform other tests, you may be able to dispute their accuracy as only the three above are officially recognized.

Whatever the police justification for charging you with drunk driving, there are ways to challenge them. Seek legal help to find out more and protect your future.