1. Please remove your glasses (if worn).
2. Put your feet together, hands at your side. Keep your head still and look at and follow this stimulus with your eyes only.
3. Keep looking at the stimulus until told the test is over.
4. Do not move your head.
5. Do you understand the directions?
For more information on field sobriety testing and your specific criminal case, please contact our Whatcom County DUI lawyers or Snohomish County DUI defense attorneys for a free consultation.
The first thing to know about DUI field sobriety tests (FSTs) is that they are voluntary tests, and are therefore not mandatory. If you are ever asked by a DUI police officer to perform the DUI FSTs, politely refuse. If you refuse to take the DUI test it does, however, become more likely that you will be arrested for DUI. But keep in mind that if the DUI officer is requesting that you perform these DUI tests his mind may already be made up.
In addition to the three “standardized” DUI FSTs that are recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA”), there are numerous other tests that some officers use as “sobriety tests.” However these tests are not recognized as standardized DUI FSTs by NHTSA and if performed should have little or no weight in your DUI case despite what DUI law enforcement likes to think. To be valid, the NHTSA approved tests must be administered and graded precisely according to NHTSA rules for each and every DUI suspect.
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For more detailed information on field sobriety tests click the book above and download a free DUI Book.
The technical definition of nystagmus is that is the rhythmic back and forth oscillation of the eyeball that occurs when there is a disturbance of the vestibular (inner ear) system or the oculomotor control of the eye. There are two major types of eye movements: pendular and jerk. Pendular nystagmus is where the oscillation speed is the same in both directions. Jerk nystagmus is where the eye moves slowly in one direction and then returns rapidly. Most types of nystagmus have the fast and slow phase (jerk nystagmus). Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), which is the type of nystagmus used in DUI investigations, is a type of jerk nystagmus with the jerky movement toward the direction of the gaze.
Like most types of nystagmus, HGN is an involuntary motion, meaning the person exhibiting the nystagmus cannot control it or is even aware of it.
Critics of the horizontal gaze nystagmus test for DUI (alcohol) related purposes have argued that alcohol is not the only potential cause of nystagmus and there are many different causes of nystagmus that have been observed and studied. Syndromes such as influenza, vertigo, epilepsy, measles, syphilis, arteriosclerosis, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, Korsakoff’s Syndrome, brain hemorrhage, streptococcus infections, and other psychogenic disorders all have been shown to produce nystagmus. Additionally, conditions such as hypertension, motion sickness, sunstroke, eyestrain, eye muscle fatigue, glaucoma, and changes in atmospheric pressure may result in gaze nystagmus.
Further, these same critics have argued that alcohol is not the only drug to cause nystagmus and that caffeine, nicotine, or aspirin also lead to nystagmus almost identical to that caused by alcohol consumption. Finally, conditions such as a person’s circadian rhythms or biorhythms can affect nystagmus readings as the body reacts differently to alcohol at different times in the day and even fatigue nystagmus can be found in an individual, and the list, according to critics, goes on.
Field Sobriety Tests are 100% voluntary. Politely refuse to do them. And by the way, most people "fail" them anyway.
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The walk and turn test is a “divided attention” test that is designed to determine the subject’s balance, listening skills, and ability to follow instructions. In this test the participant stands in a heel-to-toe fashion with arms at their sides while a series of instructions are given by the officer. Following the instructional phase the suspect must then take nine heel-to-toe steps along a line, turn in a prescribed manner, and then take another nine heel-to-toe steps back along the line. All of this must be done while counting the steps aloud and keeping the arms at the sides. The individual is informed not to stop walking until the test is completed.
NHTSA warns the officer that this test requires a “designated straight line and should be conducted on a reasonably dry, hard, level, non-slippery surface.” DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, Student Manual. NHTSA; U.S. Department of Transportation. HS 178 R2/00, Page VIII-12 (2000) Additionly, the officer is informed in the manual that original research indicated that individuals over the age of 65, and those with back, leg or middle ear problems had difficulty performing the test. Subjects wearing heels more than 2 inches high should be given the opportunity to remove their shoes. Id. Over the years however, some of the original instructions and provided information has been deleted from subsequent student manuals.
(425) 493-1115 | (360) 336-8722
The one leg stand test, like the walk and turn field sobriety test, is a divided attention test that is designed to determine the subject’s balance, listening skills, and ability to follow instructions. In this test the participant is required to stand on one leg while the other leg is extended in front of the person in a “stiff-leg” manner. This extended foot is to be held approximately six inches above and parallel with the ground. While this is occuring the person is instructed to stare at the elevated foot and count aloud until told to stop, by counting “one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three,” and so on.Also like the walk and turn test this test requires a “reasonably dry, hard, level, and non-slippery surface.” DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, Student Manual. NHTSA; U.S. Department of Transportation. HS 178 R2/00, Page VIII-12 (2000) Further, the officer has knowledge that original research indicated that individuals over the age of 65, and those with back, leg or middle ear problems had difficulty performing the test. Subjects wearing heels more than 2 inches high should be given the opportunity to remove their shoes. Id.
1. Stand with your feet together and your arms at your side (demonstrate)
2. Maintain position until told otherwise.
3. When I tell you to, I want you to raise one leg, either one, approximately 6 inches off the ground, foot pointed out, both legs straight and look at the elevated foot. Count out loud in the following manner: 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004 and so on until told to stop
4. Do you understand the instructions?
5. You may begin the test.
SFST QUICK TIP
1. Put your left foot on the line, then place your right foot on the line ahead of your left, with the heel of your right foot against the toe of your left foot.
2. Do not start until I tell you to do so.
3. Do you understand? (must receive affirmative response)
4. When I tell you to begin, take 9 heel-to-toe steps on the line
(demonstrate) and take 9 heel-to-toe steps back down the line.
5. When you turn on the ninth step, keep your front foot on the line and turn taking several small steps with the other foot (demonstrate) and take 9 heel-to-toe steps back down the line.
6. Ensure you look at your feet, count each step out loud, keep your arms at your side, ensure you touch heel-to-toe and do not stop until you have completed the test.
7. Do you understand the instructions?
8. You may begin.
9. If the suspect does not understand some part of the instructions, only the part in which the suspect does not understand should be repeated.
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LAW FIRM OF DAVID N. JOLLY - OFFICE LOCATIONS
Whatcom County: 218 W. Champion St., Bellingham, WA 98225
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