Field Sobriety Tests

When a police officer suspects you of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he or she may pull you over to administer certain tests. These can consist of chemical tests that are meant to measure the amount of alcohol in your system, or so-called “field sobriety tests,” which measure your ability to perform certain tasks. If you fail a field sobriety test, the officer may have grounds for arresting you and charging you with drunk driving.

Unfortunately, the validity of field sobriety tests is questionable. Several studies have raised concerns about a variety of factors, besides intoxication, that can influence your performance of these tasks. If you have been charged with drunk driving based on the results of a sobriety test, call the Champaign drunk driving defense lawyers of Bruno Law Offices at (217) 328-6000 to discuss your options.

The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

There are only three field tests that have actually been tested for reliability; these are generally referred to as the standardized sobriety tests. They are:

  • The one leg stand: You will be asked to stand on one foot, with the other foot at least six inches off the ground. You will probably be asked to count to thirty before you can put your foot down.
  • Walk and turn: You will be asked to walk heel-to-toe for about nine steps, then turn and walk back in the same fashion.
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test: The officer will move a pen or light back and forth in front of you, asking you to follow it with your eyes. Depending on the angle at which your eyes follow the object, you may be considered intoxicated.

In addition to the standardized tests, there are many tests that police officers can use (such as reciting the alphabet backwards) – despite the fact that their effectiveness is unproven. Unfortunately, Illinois has very little regulation concerning which tests can be administered or who is qualified to administer them.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, our experienced Champaign intoxicated driving defense attorneys can help you develop a plan for your legal defense.

Contact Us

The Champaign drunk driving defense attorneys of Bruno Law Offices have years of experience protecting the rights of the accused. Contact us today at (217) 328-6000.