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What field sobriety tests are used for DWI charges?

By now, readers of our blog have probably seen us refer to a field sobriety test. While many people know about these tests, some of our readers might have some questions about them. Let's take a look into field sobriety tests by answering some common questions.

What are the components of a field sobriety test?

There are three components to a field sobriety test. These are the walk-and-turn, the one-leg stand and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. These three tests act a gauge for police officers to test a person's attention level, balance and physical ability. When these aren't up to par, the officer might assume a person is intoxicated.

Who decided that these were the appropriate tests?

The three-step field sobriety test that includes those three tests is endorsed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is called the Standardized Field Sobriety Test.

Is the test always correct?

No, the test isn't always correct, but the accuracy rate is high. When all three tests are considered, there is a 91 percent accuracy rate. For this reason, a Breathalyzer might be used in conjunction with the SFST if the person who was stopped fails the SFST.

Are there any other field sobriety tests that might be done?

Yes, there are other tests that might be done, but these aren't standardized. Having someone count backwards, recite the alphabet and tipping the head backwards while standing with his or her feet together are some examples that some people might be familiar with.

Being accused of driving while intoxicated isn't pleasant. In some cases, it is a life-altering event. Knowing your rights and being ready for these types of situations might help you to be a little less stressed if they occur. Anyone who is accused of DUI in New York has the right to seek legal assistance before answering to these charges.

Source: FindLaw, "Field Sobriety Tests" Oct. 29, 2014

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