What are the most common types of field sobriety tests?

New Jersey residents expect and deserve to feel safe while traveling. However, you can be pulled over by police and made to perform field sobriety tests if they suspect you’ve been drinking and driving.

Walk and turn test

One of the field sobriety tests a police officer could make you do is the walk and turn test. This involves taking a certain number of steps while having your feet touching heel to toe in a straight line. You are required to turn on one foot and do the same actions the opposite way. If you stumble, take the wrong number of steps or use your arms for balance, the officer could assume that you’re impaired.

Horizontal gaze nystagmus test

The horizontal gaze nystagmus involves following the police officer’s finger or an object with your eyes. The test measures potential jerking movements of the eye. If a person is under the influence, the jerking of their eye is more exaggerated. The police officer will note the movement of your eyes while moving their finger or an object from side to side to see whether you’re able to follow it or if your eye movements go beyond 45 degrees. The officer may determine that a person’s blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit of .08 if they fail in four clues.

One-leg standing test

The one-leg standing test is a field sobriety test that sees the police officer asking you to stand with one foot off the ground by six inches and counting. At a certain point, the officer will tell you to put your foot on the ground. While the test is ongoing, the officer looks at aspects such as whether you swayed, used your arms for balance, put your foot down or hopped to keep balanced. Doing two or more of those actions tells the officer that you’re intoxicated.

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