What is a Field Sobriety Test in the State of Arizona?
A field sobriety test in the state of Arizona is a test that is administered by a police officer if you get pulled over and they suspect that you are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. This test is administered to physically test whether a person is over the legal blood alcohol content limit. Police officers have received special training to administer these tests. In conjunction with a failed breathalyzer, failing the field sobriety test could end with a DUI charge.
Finding yourself in a situation where you are pulled over is stressful enough on its own, and it can be worse if an officer pulls you out for a field sobriety test. If you have found yourself in this situation it is best to call an experienced DUI defense attorney. The tests must be administered in a certain way, if they are not, they can be used in your defense and charges may be dropped.
One-Legged Stand Tests
This test is easy for a sober person, but it may not be so simple for someone under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. In order to properly do the one-legged stand test, the driver must stand on one leg with their other leg held about 6 inches in the air. This test will be done so on the cues of the officer. They will determine the amount of time the driver stands with their leg in the air. The point is to see if there is any trouble with balance or keeping the raised foot from touching the ground.
Walk and Turn
In the walk and turn test, the driver must walk heel-to-toe for nine steps, turn on one foot, and come back the same way. This helps the officer assess the balance of the driver as well as the ability to follow directions. It is not always the most admissible test because nerves can make people stumble while they are trying to stay in a straight line.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
Sure, this has a funny-sounding name, but it can tell a police officer a lot about your sobriety. The horizontal gaze nystagmus is when a person is asked to gaze forward and follow an object from side-to-side using only their eyes. Most people have a normal amount of nystagmus, or involuntary eye bounce when doing this. Those who are under the influence will have rapid and increased eye movement that they are unaware of caused by the breakdown in the smooth and accurate control of the eye movements.
What Do Field Sobriety Tests Teach Us?
In all honesty, field sobriety tests aren’t exactly the best means of determining sobriety. It is still possible for someone to fail a field sobriety test if they blow a 0.00 on a breathalyzer test. Yes, these tests can help an officer decide if they should charge the person, with sufficient evidence to reinforce the results.
Therefore, hiring a lawyer if you fail a field sobriety test is important. An officer must be specifically trained to administer this test and if they are not trained, the results are inadmissible in court. This can nullify your charges. Make sure that you are calling an Arizona DUI defense attorney to review the situation.
Find out here about Arizona’s stand your ground law.