Field Sobriety Tests

There are only three roadside sobriety tests that are endorsed by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), which are only accurate in 67% of tests, even when expertly conducted. If you were subjected to field sobriety testing [no comma] and then were arrested, this doesn't mean you should consider pleading guilty. The recommended tests are subject to the interpretation of the officer. Throughout Colorado, some officers use additional tests that have no proven scientific validity. Furthermore, your driver's license and your future can be greatly affected by what you say and the decisions you make at this time.

Types of Field Sobriety Tests

The three tests endorsed by the NHTSA are intended to determine if a person's mental and physical abilities have been significantly reduced by alcohol. They are:

  • HGN (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus) - demonstrates the physical ability to smoothly follow the sideways motion of an object
  • Walk the Line - demonstrates the person's physical coordination and balance and ability to follow instructions
  • One Leg Stand - demonstrates a person's balance

The PBT (preliminary breathalyzer test) is a portable device that reads a person's blood-alcohol content, and it’s used by many officers to determine if the individual’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds the amount allowed by the law. These units are known for their inaccurate or false readings.

There may be many reasons for a high BAC reading, just as there may be a variety of reasons for a person to be unable to perform the three tests well. For example, physical conditions that have nothing to do with drugs or alcohol can affect a person's balance and the HGN results. A criminal defense lawyer at Feldmann Nagel, LLC has a thorough understanding of the technical factors involved in these tests and will use this to a client's advantage. For more information regarding your specific case, call for an initial consultation.