FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS IN MARYLAND

If a police officer suspects that you are under the influence of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle, he or she may ask that you perform a field sobriety test. If you need assistance fighting a charge for driving under the influence that resulted from a field sobriety test result, contact Mark A. Epstein, Attorney at Law at once.

 

TYPES OF TESTS USED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT

Different tests were established by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration to evaluate drivers’ intoxication.  Police officers with probable cause can ask drivers to perform these tests.  Drivers can refuse a field sobriety test; however, they may then be required to submit to a chemical test.

Field sobriety tests that can be requested and administered by police are:

One-Leg Stand
The one-leg stand test is designed to display different signs of alcohol intoxication, including swaying while balancing, using arms to keep balance, hopping on the anchor foot to maintain balance, and resting the raised foot on the ground more than twice during the required 30 seconds.  The alleged offender will be asked to stand with feet together and arms down at his or her sides.  The officer will then instruct the subject to raise either leg 6 inches above the ground and count upward beginning at the number 1,000.

Walk and Turn
With the walk-and-turn test, the officer must explain and demonstrate what is required of the individual.  The officer will request that the individual walk heel to toe in a straight line.  After nine steps, the driver must turn around take small steps back to the starting point.  During the test, the officer will be looking for signs of intoxication, such as an inability to stay balanced, starting or stopping before the officer indicates that stopping is ok, failure to walk heel to toe, and other indications.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
The presence of alcohol or drugs within the body results in jerking or bouncing movements in the eyes.  The horizontal gaze nystagmus test requires the law enforcement official to use a pen or a finger to guide the suspect’s eye gaze.  The officer will move the object from one side to another while observing the driver’s eye movement.