No one in New Jersey wants to be pulled over by the police, especially if the police allege you are driving under the influence. In such situations, you may be asked to perform a variety of field sobriety tests to determine if you are impaired. There are three standardized field sobriety tests officers may ask you to perform: the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk-and-turn test and the one-leg stand test.
The horizontal gaze nystagmus test
Our eyes naturally jerk involuntarily when we look from one side to the other. However, if a person is drunk, this jerking motion is exaggerated. Officers may ask you to follow a moving object to determine if you are impaired by alcohol. The inability to follow the object smoothly, jerking when looking all the way to the side and jerking within 45 degrees of center can all indicate that you are drunk.
The walk-and-turn test
In this test, police will ask you to walk heel-to-toe along a straight line, turn around on one foot and then walk heel-to-toe back along the line in the opposite direction. While this test is generally easy to do if you are sober, if you are drunk you may be unable to stay on the line, indicating impairment.
The one-leg stand test
In this test, police will ask you to raise one foot around six inches in the air for 30 seconds. If you are drunk you may find it difficult to keep your balance throughout the test or keep your foot in the air. Swaying, hopping or putting your foot down can all indicate impairment.
Challenging the results of a field sobriety test
If you fail a field sobriety test, you could be charged with DUI. The consequences for a DUI range from fines to jail time and even to the loss of your driver’s license. If you feel you want to challenge the results of a field sobriety test it can help to seek professional guidance so you can present a solid defense argument that aims to reduce the charges against you or have the charges dropped altogether.