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Types of Field Sobriety Tests

There are many different types of DUI field sobriety tests that a DUI police officer may ask a suspected DUI offender to perform. It is important to note that a suspected DUI offender can refuse to take any DUI field sobriety test. However, during a DUI investigation, the DUI officer doesn’t need to tell the suspected DUI offender that they have a right to refuse the DUI field sobriety test. It is a good idea for any suspected DUI offender to refuse DUI field sobriety tests.

There are several DUI field sobriety tests that are used, but there are three DUI field sobriety tests that are qualified by the Massachusetts Highway Traffic Safety Administration http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/enforce/deskbk.html#SFST.

The three DUI field sobriety tests that are known as the standardized DUI tests are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the one legged stand tests, and the 9 step walk and turn tests. During the DUI stop, the DUI police officer will usually give the DUI tests to the suspected DUI offender in the way I just listed, but it is not a requirement. The HGN DUI test requires a suspected DUI offender to keep their head still and to follow the DUI officer’s pen with their eyes.

During the HGN DUI test, the DUI officer considers how the suspected DUI offender’s eyeballs are moving during the test. During a DUI trial, most judges have ruled that a DUI expert needs to come in to qualify the results in order to admit the results into the DUI trial. The one legged stand DUI field sobriety test is much more likely to be admitted in a DUI trial.

During the one legged stand field DUI field sobriety test the suspected DUI offender is told to stand with their feet together, toes pointed out, keep both legs straight, raise one leg off the ground, and count out loud “one one thousand and two one thousand” all the way to 30. During the one legged stand DUI field sobriety test, the officer is looking to see if the suspected DUI offender is swaying, uses his arms to balance, hops on the foot on the ground, or puts down the raised foot. If the suspected DUI offender exhibits 2 or more signs, it is considered a failed field sobriety test.

The 9 step walk and turn DUI field sobriety test is split up into to phases. During the first phase or instructional phase of this DUI field sobriety test, the suspected DUI offender is asked to stand in heel to toe position while keeping their arms down at their side. During the second phase of this DUI field sobriety test, the suspected DUI offender is told to take nine steps out heel to toe, while counting out loud and watching their feet.

Once the suspected DUI offender takes nine steps during this DUI field sobriety tests, the suspected DUI offender is told to turn around pivoting on one foot. After the turn, the suspected DUI offender is told to take 9 steps and return to the starting point. During the 9 step walk and turn DUI field sobriety test, the officer is looking to see if the suspected DUI offender starts on time, can balance during the instructions, stops walking, touches heel to toe on each step, steps off the line, uses arms to balance, maintains balance during the turn and takes the correct number of steps. If the suspected DUI offender exhibits two or more clues, then it is considered a failed DUI field sobriety test.

Call Attorney Jason Chan to talk about your case today at 508-808-8902.

Contact Attorney Jason Chan

Attorney Jason Chan

267 North Beacon Street, Suite 3
Boston MA 01235


Phone: 781-343-1DUI (781-343-1384)
Fax: 617-226-7986

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