${site.data.firmName}${SEMFirmNameAlt}
Free Consultations
Personalized Guidance From Start To Finish
518-284-0585
View Our Practice Areas

What are field sobriety tests?

It is a sight New York drivers probably dread seeing in their rear-view mirror: flashing red and blue lights. Police can either conduct random traffic stops or pull over a driver based on a suspicion that the driver is impaired or drunk while driving. When this happens, the officer usually conducts a three-part field sobriety test to observe the driver's balance, attention level and physical activity.

In the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, officers are trying to see if the suspected drunk driver can follow a moving object smoothly, if the eye jerks when it is at its maximum deviation and if the eye jerks when it is 45 degrees from the center. Eye jerking is exaggerated when someone is impaired by alcohol, which is what the officers are looking for. The walk and turn test is the officer's attempt to see if the driver can complete tasks with undivided attention. The suspected drunk driver is asked to take nine steps along a straight line and then turn back and return in the same way.

Lastly, the suspected drunk driver is asked to stand on one foot a certain level above the ground and count for a total of 30 seconds. If the driver uses arms to balance, sways while balancing or hops, it could be considered signs of impairment.

The officer's record of the field sobriety test's results is noted down and can be used in a drunk driving case. The tests are also often upheld on appeal. However, is it important to note that these tests are accurate only about 91% of the time. There can be other explanations for someone's impairment, such as medication. A DUI defense could challenge the sobriety test results.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • AV | Preeminent | Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence
  • LCA | Proven Trial Lawyers | Litigation Counsel of America | Fellow
  • Best Lawyers | Best Law Firms | US News | 2014
  • Super Lawyers
  • ASHRM | American Society for Healthcare Risk Management
  • Best Lawyers

AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Email Us For A Response

Contact Us

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Phelan, Phelan & Danek LLP
300 Great Oaks Boulevard
Suite 315
Albany, New York 12203

Phone: 518-284-0585
Phone: 518-640-6900
Fax: 518-640-6955
Albany Law Office Map