Atlanta DUI Attorney
Atlanta Field Sobriety Tests
What You Should Know about These “Pop Quizzes”
It was late at night, cars were whizzing by and the police officer made you step out of your vehicle, asking you to perform physical tests. What was the point of this? If this happened to you or even someone you know, the officer was administering a field sobriety test because he or she believed drinking and driving was taking place. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has approved only three field sobriety tests: the HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus), the Walk and Turn and the One Leg Stand. Georgia officers should be trained on all of these.
After conducting scientific tests, studies have determined that the HGN is the most reliable of the three, but it must be administered by the officer correctly. This point of this field sobriety test is to look for any nystagmus, which is an involuntary jerking of the eyes usually caused by alcohol consumption. The officer may hold an object like a light pen and ask you to follow it with your eyes without moving your head. If the officer notices four out of six clues, you can be arrested for DUI. However, there are many people who suffer from a natural nystagmus in their eyes in which case your lawyer will find out.
For the walk and turn test, the officer is actually looking for two things: your ability to follow instructions and your physical performance. Before you perform the test, the officer must demonstrate it for you. The officer will tell you to take nine heel-to-toe steps and then pivot on your front foot and return in the same way. And don’t forget to count your steps out loud! If you do any of these two things such as losing balance, missing a step, forgetting to count out loud, etc., you will be arrested for DUI.
The one leg stand is also a two part test. After showing you how to perform the test, the officer will tell you to raise one foot about six inches off the ground. You must keep your arms at your sides, look down, count out loud and point your toe out.
Two strikes such as putting your foot down or using your arms to balance results in a DUI arrest.
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