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What are the standard field sobriety tests?

If someone is driving erratically, it’s likely that an officer will pull the driver over for suspicion of driving a vehicle while intoxicated. Once pulled over, the officer will look for signs that the driver is intoxicated. Possible signs of intoxication include slurred speech, red eyes, delayed reactions, or the smell of alcohol. If an officer believes that the driver is intoxicated, the officer will likely ask the driver to submit to a field sobriety test. SMB Criminal Defense Lawyer, Shawn McDonald explains the 3 types of field sobriety tests drivers can expect.


  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. More commonly known as the “eye test,” an officer will use a pen or flashlight and have the driver follow it horizontally with their eyes. They are looking for jerking eye movements caused from alcohol consumption.
  • Walk and turn. The driver walks heel-to-toe, along a straight line and then repeats walking back. An officer is looking for issues with balance or a loss in the instructed step count.
  • One leg stand. The driver is asked to stand on one leg for thirty seconds while the officer watches for swaying, standing on the other foot, or loss of balance. 

The accuracy of determining impairment increases with each test. If you get charged with a DWI because of a field sobriety test, reach out to us with questions.