Fairfax DUI Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are tests conducted at the site of a DUI stop as part of the law enforcement officer’s investigation to determine whether or not a driver might be impaired. It usually requires some action by the driver. The standard Fairfax DUI field sobriety tests have been defined by the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration or NHTSA. To learn more about the types of sobriety tests you may be asked to perform during a DUI stop, contact a skilled DUI attorney right away.

Common Fairfax DUI Field Sobriety Tests

The horizontal gaze nystagmus test tests for eye movements in the driver. It is conducted by law enforcement officers by holding a pen at a certain distance from the driver and moving it horizontal left to right in front of the driver. It allows the law enforcement officer to observe the eyes of the driver to see whether nystagmus is present at certain angles during the test.

Walking DUI Tests

The walk and turn test requires the driver to step along a straight line heel-to-toe for nine steps, turn in a specific manner, and return to the starting position by walking nine steps backwards heel-to-toe. The one-leg stand test requires the driver to stand with their arms by their side and raise one foot off of the ground, holding their foot parallel to the ground for 30 seconds. These tests need to be administered very specifically. In order for these three standard field sobriety test to have any reliability, they must be conducted in certain ways with specific instructions.

What is the Weight of a Test at a DUI Trial?

Judges tend to give Fairfax DUI field sobriety tests a substantial amount of weight at a DUI trial despite the fact that field sobriety test have limited reliability and they do not reliably replicate results that accurately indicate levels of intoxication. The field sobriety tests are all specific to alcohol and there is no weight regarding the reliability of those tests as applied to different drugs. However, because they are so commonly used in investigations and so commonly demonstrated during trials for DUIs, they are often given substantial weight at trial.

Understanding How Field Sobriety Tests are Treated

Law enforcement officers in Fairfax typically tend to develop their own manner of conducting Fairfax DUI field sobriety tests. From one officer to the next, there tends to be some variability in how the field sobriety test are conducted, but there is nothing specific to Fairfax that a driver might encounter that they would not otherwise encounter in different jurisdictions. A person can always refuse to perform field sobriety tests. Law enforcement officers might pressure them to proceed, but there is no law that requires them to engage in field sobriety test under any circumstances.