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Field Sobriety Tests During Traffic Stops

We’ve all seen it…the videos of people on police body camera doing field sobriety tests.  The people are failing miserably, touching their forehead when they should touch they nose.  Falling over instead of walking in a straight line.  These are known as field sobriety tests and they are used by officers to determine how intoxicated someone is.  Driving under the influence (DWI) is a serious offense with severe consequences. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DWI, it’s important their defense understand these types of field sobriety tests. These tests assess coordination, balance, and cognitive abilities to detect impairment. Here, I’ll talk about the different tests.  In other blogs, I will address each test and how they can be challenged by defense attorneys.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN)

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN) is a widely used and scientifically validated field sobriety test. It measures involuntary eye movements when gazing to the side. This test detects signs of intoxication through the observation of jerking or bouncing eye movements, which can be indicative of impairment.

Walk-and-Turn Test

The Walk-and-Turn Test is another important field sobriety test employed by law enforcement officers. It evaluates physical coordination and mental acuity. During this test, the individual is required to follow specific instructions while walking in a straight line. The ability to perform this task successfully can provide insights into a person’s level of impairment.

One-Leg Stand Test

The One-Leg Stand Test is designed to assess balance and divided attention. It involves standing on one leg while counting aloud. This test requires both physical coordination and mental focus. Difficulty in maintaining balance or inability to perform the task can indicate impairment.

Romberg Balance Test

The Romberg Balance Test is a field sobriety test that evaluates balance and coordination. It requires the individual to stand with feet together and close their eyes for approximately 30 seconds. This test challenges the body’s ability to maintain balance without visual cues. Impairment can be detected if the person sways, loses balance, or struggles to stay upright.

Finger-to-Nose Test

The Finger-to-Nose Test is another field sobriety test used to assess physical coordination and mental focus. It involves touching the tip of the nose with the index finger, alternating between each hand. This test evaluates the individual’s ability to perform precise movements and maintain accuracy. Difficulty in completing the task can indicate impairment.

Understanding these common field sobriety tests is crucial when facing a DWI charge in Louisiana. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, Walk-and-Turn Test, One-Leg Stand Test, Romberg Balance Test, and Finger-to-Nose Test are frequently used by law enforcement officers to determine impairment. If you find yourself in such a situation, it is highly recommended to consult an experienced DWI attorney in New Orleans or Metairie, LA, who can provide expert guidance tailored to your specific case. Remember, having knowledgeable legal representation can significantly impact the outcome of your case and protect your rights.  We know how to challenge these tests (look for this in the next few blogs). 

Don’t wait to secure the expert guidance you need. If you’re facing a DWI charge in Louisiana, contact our experienced law firm today at 504-434-7000. We’re ready to fight for your rights and offer the legal representation you deserve. Let us help you navigate the complexities of the legal system. Call now and take the first step towards protecting your future.