Field Sobriety Tests

It may have been a broken taillight or a missed signal, or there may have been no reason at all to pull you over. The officer, however, suspects or insists that you’ve been drinking and begins to question you. At some point, the officer may even request that you take a field sobriety test.

The field sobriety test is designed to collect evidence against you and you are not obligated by law to perform these tests in Wisconsin. Some, however, feel they can pass these tests and put an end to the DUI traffic stop. The result is often a drunk driving or OWI charge.

The standard field sobriety test has three components that taken together help the officers determine whether to continue their investigation. It is often a precursor to arresting you and ordering a Breathalyzer test.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

The movement that the eye makes when gazing to the side is referred to as nystagmus. Though this is a naturally occurring condition, the type of movement in the eye can be exaggerated when consuming alcohol. The officer performs the test by asking the subject to focus on an object moving back and forth. The test is designed to display an unnatural bouncing or jerking of the eye.

Walk And Turn

The walk and turn test where a subject is instructed to take a certain number of steps on a line, heel-to-toe, turn and repeat the test. The officer is looking for signs of impairment that include failing to follow instructions, using arms or body weight to regain balance or falling off the line, among others.

One Leg Stand

In the one leg stand test is performed by the subject standing on one leg with the other off the ground a short distance. The officer will instruct the person to hold the position for a certain time period. Similar to the walk and turn test, the officer is looking for visual signs of impairment. Anything from a hop to maintain balance, to a subtle sway, using arms to balance or putting the foot down can alert the officer to potential impairment.

What If I Fail The Test?

Though law enforcement officials tout the success of these tests in identifying drivers who are operating a vehicle while intoxicated, the tests are subjective in nature and can be difficult for any person to pass.

If you’ve been arrested on suspicion of DUI and facing criminal as well as administrative license penalties, it’s time to work with an experienced attorney. At Froelich Law Offices in Green Bay, we have over 25 years of experience protecting the rights of clients accused of drinking and driving. Contact us today at 920-430-9640 for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer.