Regardless of the reason for the traffic stop, if a law enforcement officer believes there is reasonable cause to suspect you are driving under the influence, they may ask you to perform a few field sobriety tests.
An officer has reasonable cause to request the tests if they observe things like slurred speech, bloodshot eyes or slow reaction time to questions. Here are a few of the tests they may ask you to perform.
In a walk-and-turn test, an officer asks you to take a certain number of steps in a straight line, heel-to-toe, then turn and walk back the same way. Using your arms for balance, not staying in a straight line or taking the incorrect number of steps are a few signs of impairment.
In a one-leg test, the officer asks that you stand on one leg for 30 seconds. Using your arms for balance, putting your foot down too soon or hopping to keep your balance are a few signs of impairment.
Horizontal gaze nystagmus
In a horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the officer will ask you to track a moving object with your eyes. If your eyes cannot track the object smoothly or jerk as the angle of your gaze increases, this is a sign of impairment.
Field sobriety tests are not reliable assessments of sobriety. They rely on a law officer’s judgment of your behavior without considering other things that may affect the results. A person with underlying medical issues that affect their balance and coordination may fail these tests while completely sober.