Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

If you are stopped by the police and suspected of driving under the influence, the police may ask you to perform standardized field sobriety tests. You can learn more about these tests, what they entail, how they are scored, and issues with them on this page. For help defending against field sobriety test results, contact us.


In Glastonbury, Standardized Field Sobriety Tests are used to determine if a person is driving under the influence of alcohol. The police will employ these tests if they suspect that a driver could be under the influence. These tests are the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg stand test. These tests check a person’s coordination, balance, and ability to follow directions. You can learn more about these tests and if you should or should not take them if prompted on this page.

What are the Field Sobriety Tests?

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

The first test tracks eye movement. The horizontal gaze nystagmus test rests upon the underlying principle that eyes jerk more often and more quickly when alcohol has been consumed. The test is administered by the police officer having the suspect follow an object with only their eyes, while the officer observes to see if the eye movement is smooth and regularly paced.

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If the officer thinks the eyes are falling behind the object or jerking, they will use this as an indication that the person is under the influence. Eye jerking when under the influence is involuntary, so many consider this the most accurate of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. However, as with anything else, there is room for error and there are ways to defend yourself if the police officer claims that you failed this test.


The next test is the walk-and-turn test, which tests the person’s ability to use divided attention. It is believed that multi-tasking, especially trying to do one physical and one cognitive task at the same time, is more difficult if a person is under the influence. This is because the person must focus on walking and the instructions being given by the officer.

This test is typically administered by the officer telling the person to walk a specific number of steps in a straight line while counting the steps. The officer watches for several indicators, including completing the task, walking in a straight line, using arm movement for balance, and so forth, to determine if the person has failed or passed the test.

One-Leg Stand

The last of the field sobriety tests, the one-leg stand test, has the driver stand on one leg and keep the other around six inches off the ground. This is done for approximately 30 seconds, which is counted by the suspect. The officer will check to see if the person counts in the correct manner to the correct number, if they sway or fall, hop, put their foot down, or use their arms to try to maintain balance.

Glastonbury is a city packed with restaurants and activities, which also leads the police to frequently be on the lookout for impaired drivers. A few years ago, a man was stopped for suspected driving under the influence and was then subsequently arrested and charged with several other crimes. It is important to stay alert and aware of other drivers, police officers, and DUI checkpoints while driving in Glastonbury. If you have been arrested for a DUI and need help fighting your case, Lady DUI may be able to help. Contact us for more information.

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