Many people find field sobriety testing mysterious. It seems like magic. The officer gets you out of your car, walks you around for a little bit, waves his pen in your face, and then arrests you. From a defense standpoint, it’s not as crazy as it seems.
The three phases of the Standardized Field Sobriety Test are:
1. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test,
2. The Walk and Turn, and
3. The One Leg Stand
On each of the three parts, there are certain "clues" that officers are trained to look for and identify. If they see enough of these "clues" of intoxication, they may believe that they have enough evidence to arrest you and charge you with Driving While Intoxicated.
The "clues" that officers believe that they observe are usually recorded in their final police report. That is why it is so important that you hire an attorney who not only knows the field tests inside and out, but who also has experience taking officers back to school at trial. Often times, getting dashcam and bodycam footage of your tests is the very best way to argue against how the officer instructed you to perform the test, the test conditions, and your actual performance. This can be one of the most heated parts of a DWI trial! It may very well come down to your attorney’s knowledge of the tests vs. the officer’s.
Be sure to check out the following posts for a breakdown of each of these three phases, as well as a discussion of a few of the most common mistakes made by officers on each test.
Click here to Learn More About the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
And Common Officer Mistakes:
1. What to Expect During Your Free Meeting
3. Officer Mistakes on the HGN (Eye Test)
4. Common Errors on the Walk and Turn
Brannen is trained as an instructor under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's SFST Guidelines.