DUI Field Sobriety Tests-, A Potential Trap...Even If You Haven't Been Drinking.

Posted by Leslie ShumakeDec 19, 20210 Comments

If an officer pulls you over for a minor (or major) traffic violation and suspects you have been drinking, he very well may ask you to take "Field Sobriety Tests" to determine if he has probable cause to charge you with DUI.   There are typically three such tests in Mississippi, and the officer has to be qualified to administer them. 

The first is the "Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus" test. This one, in my opinion, is the most difficult for an officer to master and administer.  The officer will show you the tip of a pen or other object and ask you to follow it with your eyes. This is the most "scientific" of the tests and does not depend on your performing some physical act.  This is also the rarest to be presented in court.

The second is the "Walk And Turn". The officer will instruct you to walk in a straight line, (usually a highway emergency lane line or something of that sort.)  He will tell you the number of steps to take, how to then turn around, and the number of steps to take back.

The third is the "One-Leg Stand".  You will be asked to lift one leg a certain height and remain standing for a period of time on the other leg without putting your foot down.

Here is the trap:   These tests can be extraordinarily difficult to "pass', even if you have had absolutely nothing to drink. Failing any part of these tests will probably make you fail the test.

For example, if you lose count of your steps in the "Walk And Turn" test, because you weren't paying attention to the officer's instructions, because you were nervous, or because you were just not listening carefully, you will probably fail this test.  If you can't walk in a straight line, you will probably fail this test. If you turn incorrectly, you will probably fail this test. 

In the "One Leg Stand" test, if you put your foot down before 30 seconds, you will fail this test.  If you put your arms out to give you balance, instead of leaving them at your side, you will fail this test.  If you sway with you foot out, you will fail this test.

Do This After You Read This Blog:  Ask someone to walk in a completely straight line for ten steps, one foot in front of the other, heel to toe, then pivoting and taking the exact same number of steps, heel to toe, all the while staying in a straight line.  See if they pass it, or, have them give you similar instructions and see if you can pass it. 

Next,  ask that person to keep their arms at their side, lift one foot off of the ground in front of them, locking their heel and their toe pointed up for 30 seconds.  Try it yourself.     Remember, any swaying, putting your arms out for balance, or putting your foot down before the time expires, and you have failed.

The Moral Of The Story:  You don't have to take these tests.  Remember the "Trap" before agreeing to take them.