Field Sobriety Tests: What are They & How do They Work? Atlanta GA DUI Attorney Benjamin Von Schuch


You’ve been pulled over on the side of the
road and the police ask you to take a field sobriety test. What are these and how do they
work? My name is Benjamin Von Schuch. I’m a DUI lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia. The field
sobriety tests are known commonly as the ‘standardized field sobriety tests’ and there are three
of them. The first one is the eye test. The eye test has another name, “the horizontal
gaze nystagmus” that’s also known as “HGN” for short because most people can’t even say
nystagmus. What nystagmus is is an involuntary jerking of the eye. Police are looking for
different movements that your eye makes as you follow their finger. It is a test where
they have to make 14 passes and it has to take at least 82 seconds. It’s very complicated
and very easy to mess up that procedure. The…an important note about the HGN test that police
like to comment on it’s a scientific test and its reliability. There are many things
that cause HGN outside of alcohol such as high blood pressure, aspirin, caffeine, fatigue
and even diet. So there are many causes which most people that are pulled over late at night
are already fatigued and already had caffeine. So there are many causes of actual HGN. The
other tests are coordination tests. And what those are are the walk and turn and the one
legged stand. The walk and turn test they’re making sure that you don’t start too early.
So if you’ve watched a DUI video or you’ve watched cops, don’t start before they tell
you to start even if you’ve seen it before. Basically you’re walking heel to toe, you’re
doing a real goofy turn. Pay a lot of attention to how they describe how you do that turn
because they’ll mark you off if you don’t do it exactly correctly and you walk back.
The other test is the one legged stand where you stand on one leg and you count to 30 seconds
and try to maintain your balance. The difficult part in passing both of those coordination
tests is that the police will not tell you while you’re on the side of the road what
they’re looking for. Now imagine going into school and walking into the classroom and
the teacher saying, “You have a test today.” And you sit down to take it and you say, “Well,
I don’t even know what the topic is.” What are the chances do you think of you passing
that test? You know, you might get lucky and pass but it’s pretty hard to pass a test that
you don’t even know what you’re being tested on. So there’s a lot of issues with the field
sobriety tests. Any other tests that they give you outside of those three, is not a
standardized test and not part of their training. So if they make you touch your fingers or
do the alphabet, count backwards, jump up and down and look like a monkey, that stuff
is not part of the field sobriety test. If you’ve been pulled over and charged with a
DUI, go ahead and give me a call. We can discuss your case and how I can help you out. My name
is Benjamin Von Schuch. I look forward to talking to you and look forward to seeing
you.

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