Drivers who are pulled over for suspected drunk driving will be asked a series of questions by the police officer, while still in the car. This is done to assess the driver’s demeanor. If there is a suspicion of drunken behavior, the driver is expected to step out of the vehicle to perform Field Sobriety Tests. There are three standardized tests in Nevada
- Nevada horizontal gaze nystagmus test
- Nevada walk-and-turn test
- One-legged stand (OLS)
During the One-legged stand test, the drivers must balance on one leg for 30 seconds. One leg (police officer might ask for either right or left leg, to see if the suspect pays attention to detail) is lifted 6” off the ground, the suspect is instructed to count from 1001 to 1030, and to look at the lifted leg while still counting. The officer will instruct the driver not to put the foot down or sway or use arms for balance. S/he will also ask if the suspect understands the directions. A timer will start so that the driver can count from 1001 to 1030.
Any two of the following mistakes
- using arms to keep the balance or
- putting the foot down
will alert the officer that the driver is under the influence. A failing score doesn’t automatically mean the suspect will be arrested. The officers will also consider other factors, such as slurry speech, other Field Sobriety Tests, alcohol on breath, and results of a breath test.
Suspects of a DUI may refuse to take Field Sobriety Tests. An officer can’t hold someone unless they are under arrest. They might still arrest you for reasons mentioned above. However, a lawyer might be able to use the fact that no FST was performed in the defense. One-legged stand tests can be very flawed in executions, something that can be to your advantage in court. They have only a 65% accuracy. Varying factors, such as bad lighting, the driver is mentally or physically impaired and can’t perform the OLS, unlevel ground or windy conditions or the officer being distracted or not timing the test correctly can play a role in the defense. Your charges might be reduced or dismissed.
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