One Leg Stand Test
There are three standardized field sobriety tests that are used by law enforcement agencies across the nation: the one-leg stand test, the walk-and-turn test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. These tests, developed by the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration, are used to determine whether a driver is operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
The one-leg stand test is a type of divided attention test. This means that the officer must check the driver’s ability to follow instructions and his or her physical performance.
To administer the one-leg stand test, the officer must first ensure that the conditions are ideal for testing. The test must be given in a safe area where the driver will not be hurt if he or she falls. The surface must be hard, flat, and dry. If the driver is over the age of 65, has a physical impairment, or is more than 50 pounds overweight, the test should not be administered.
Once the officer determines the testing site is appropriate, he or she must explain and demonstrate the test instructions. In order to perform the test, the driver must raise one foot six inches off of the ground while keeping his or her arms at the side. Once in this position, he or she must then count out loud to 30 out loud before putting his or her foot back down.
During the test, the officer will observe the driver’s performance. The officer is looking for specific clues that the driver is intoxicated such as: excessive swaying, using arms to balance, hopping to maintain balance, putting his or her foot down, or inability to complete the test. If the driver shows two or more of these behaviors, this is considered a test failure and the driver may be arrested for driving under the influence.
The one-leg stand test is far from perfect – after all, the test is scored subjectively by a police officer who already believes you are intoxicated. You should contact a skilled DUI defense attorney immediately if you were charged with driving under the influence after failing the one-leg stand test.