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Detroit Legal Blog

What Are Non-Standard Field Sobriety Tests?

Jun 09, 2017, by Maurice Davis in Legal Blog, OWI

If you are pulled over and the police officer suspects that you have been drinking, you may be asked to complete a field sobriety test (FST). An FST is supposed to tell an officer if you are intoxicated and whether you may be driving under the influence (DUI).

There are different kinds of FSTs – standard and non-standard. Standard FSTs are those that have been researched and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined they are a good indication of intoxication. Non-standard FSTs have not been proven to be a reliable measure of intoxication.

Because non-standard FSTs are unreliable, they are often thrown out as evidence in court. If you were subjected to a non-standard field sobriety test, contact a Detroit DUI lawyer with Davis Law Group today at (313) 818-3238.

Standard Field Sobriety Tests

Standard field sobriety tests which are often used in court as evidence of driving while intoxicated include:

  • One-leg stand test – This test involves standing for 30 seconds with your foot raised six inches above the ground.
  • Walk-and-turn test – This test involves walking heel-to-toe in a straight line for nine steps, turning, and repeating the steps in the opposite direction.
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test – This test measures nystagmus, which refers to eye twitching that occurs when you look left or right without moving your head. Those who are intoxicated often experience more intense nystagmus than someone who is sober.

Non-Standard Field Sobriety Tests

Any test that deviates from these three is considered a non-standard field sobriety test. The results of a non-standard test may still be used in court, but you can challenge them and possibly have the evidence eliminated from the prosecution’s case.

The most commonly used non-standard field sobriety tests include:

  • Rhomberg balance test – You will be asked to stand up straight with your eyes closed for one minute. During this time, the police officer will observe you for wobbling or falling.
  • Finger Count – You will be asked to count how many fingers a police officer is holding up. This test involves touching and counting each finger. You may be asked to count forward and backward.
  • Finger-to-nose test – As the name implies, you will be asked to touch your nose with your finger. You will also need to close your eyes, tip your head back, and extend your arms horizontally.
  • ABCs backwards test – You will be asked to recite the alphabet, but instead of starting with A, you’ll start with Z and work your way up to A.
  • Numbers backwards test – This is the same premise as the ABCs backwards test, except you’ll use numbers instead of letters, and you’ll likely be asked to start with a high number, like 100.

Have You Failed a Non-Standard Field Sobriety Test?

Many people have failed non-standard sobriety tests and, as a result, have been wrongfully accused of drinking and driving. These sobriety tests are designed to cause you to fail and are not solid indicators of your sobriety – or lack thereof.

If you were asked to perform a non-standard field sobriety test – and failed – Detroit DUI lawyer Maurice Davis can help you navigate your DUI case.

Call Davis Law Group today at (313) 818-3238.