Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

When a police officer thinks that a person is driving under the influence in Guilford, they may employ standardized field sobriety tests to get more information. You can learn more about these tests, how they are administered, how they are scored, and if you should take them on this page. For assistance with a DUI charge, contact us.


If the police believe that a person is operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there are three standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs)used to determine if this suspicion is warranted. The three tests used in Guilford, throughout the state of Connecticut, and throughout the country are the walk-and-turn test, the horizontal gaze test, and the one-leg stand test. These SFSTs are used to determine balance, coordination, and ability to follow instructions. Learn more about what to expect if you are asked to take these tests on this page.


Walk-and-Turn Test

The walk-and-turn test is a test designed to test the driver’s divided attention ability. It is believed that when a person is under the influence of alcohol, their divided attention ability is reduced. In this test, a police officer will instruct a person to walk, typically heel to toe, a certain number of steps, in a specified straight line, while accurately counting the steps. During this, the officer is observing to see if there are any deviations from the specific instructions given, if the person physically is able to do the act, and if the person uses their arms for balance or otherwise stumbles. These factors could result in a failed walk-and-turn test.

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Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test

Another of the SFSTs is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is. In this test, the officer instructs the person to look at an object, typically a pen, and to follow the object as it is moved side to side, with the eyes only. This test is grounded in the principle that the eyes do not move smoothly side to side when one is impaired and instead will have jerking motions or stutters along the way.

The officer is also checking to see that the person followed the instructions and only used their eyes to follow the object instead of turning their head. The jerking of the eyes is called nystagmus, and professionals believe it is one of the best indications of intoxication because this is an involuntary physical reaction.

One-Leg Stand Test

The final of the SFSTs is the one-leg stand test, which is exactly what it sounds like. In this test, the officer instructs the person to stand on one leg, with the other raised a certain amount, typically about six inches, while counting to a specified number in a specified way, typically 1-1 thousand, 2-1 thousand, and so forth.

During this test, the officer is observing to see if the person is able to follow the instructions given and physically stand on one leg without falling over, putting the raised foot down, using the arms for balance, or otherwise failing to perform the task. This is another divided attention test, and the officer has certain factors they are looking for when administering the test. If you accumulate too many points against you, you will fail this test.

In Guilford, police officers are ever vigilant for DUIs. They have much experience in this area, due to the large population, and considerable night-life of the city. If you have received a DUI it is important to you talk to a Guilford DUI defense attorney. To do so, contact Lady DUI to speak with a lawyer. Our team is happy to help with your DUI situation.

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