What To Expect During a Field Sobriety Test

The holidays are just behind us, and with the holidays often come a busier social calendar. Often, sobriety check points are stepped up in frequency during the holiday season — but law enforcement efforts to stop and prosecute drunk drivers isn’t just a winter time occurrence, it’s a year-round priority.  Here’s what you can expect in a typical field sobriety test:

• Walk a Straight Line and Turn. The motorist is asked to take a certain number of steps (heel-to-toe) and then turn and take the same number of steps back. The police officer will monitor to check if the driver can follow directions, keep his or her balance, and complete the test without stopping.

• Stand on One Leg. Driver is asked to stand on one leg with their arms lowered to their sides. Then they are usually asked to raise the other leg slightly off of the ground and to count out loud so that the officer can hear it. The officer is being attentive to the driver’s ability to follow directions, loss of balance, body tremors, and an inability to stand still.

• Touching a Finger to a Nose. Driver is asked to stand with legs together and eyes closed, and then touch their nose with an index finger. A swaying body, tremors, and muscle twitching may indicate intoxication.

• Nystagmus. The driver will be asked to follow an object, such as a pencil, that is placed about a foot away from his or her face. The officer will move the object from side to side. If the eyeballs jerk or tremble, this is a sign that the driver is intoxicated.

• Balance Test. The driver will be asked to close their eyes, tilt the head slightly back, and estimate 30 seconds while remaining in that position. Swaying, not being able to keep feet on the ground, eyelid tremors, or opening the eyes may indicate the subject is intoxicated.

•  Breathalyzer Test. The driver will be asked to blow into an apparatus that measures blood alcohol content. If the BAC registers as more than .08%, the driver is considered to be intoxicated.

Many people want to know if there is a way to pass a typical field sobriety test. Fortunately, the answer is “yes.” As a matter of fact, it’s really easy to pass your field sobriety test with flying colors. Instead of facing serious consequences, the officer will send you on your way without an arrest, without a hefty fine, without increased insurance premiums, without jail time, and without loss of license.

So what’s the trick?

Don’t drink and drive!!!!

That’s right. The way to pass your field sobriety test – in fact, the only sure way – is to be sober when you take it.  When attending social functions where alcohol is served, name a designated driver. If you don’t have a designated driver or are driving yourself, either stick to seltzer or call a cab. Be responsible, and be safe.

About the Author

Joseph Lombardo is a Hammonton, NJ attorney who has been representing clients in matters related to personal injury, family law, and criminal defense since 1993.  If you have been arrested in New Jersey, contact him today for a free initial consultation.

One Response to “What To Expect During a Field Sobriety Test”

  1. I just recently went through a check point and saw a few people pulled off to the side that were taking the field sobriety test. thank god Ive never had to take one since I do not drive drunk. I have seen too many clients have their lives affected by getting into an accident and killing or seriously injuring their best friend in the car with them while they drove drunk.