Field Sobriety Test: One Leg Stand
The One Leg Stand portion of the field sobriety tests requires the DUI suspect to stand on one leg while counting out loud to thirty. The officer should instruct the driver to place both heals together with arms at the sides. The foot that is lifted should be six inches off the ground, and the driver should be given the option of which foot to use. As with the other field sobriety tests, the officer should demonstrate the maneuver for the driver before giving instructions to begin.
The test measures balance and coordination, as well as the ability to remember and follow the instructions. Police will sometimes testify that the suspect counted too quickly or slowly, however this is not a valid test measurement, and no points can be assessed for counting at the wrong speed.
Common Police Mistakes:
- Failing to demonstrate the maneuver for the driver
- Not asking if the driver understands the instructions
- Giving the instructions in an unauthorized or unapproved manner
- Not using the point assessment method for scoring
Your performance should not be a matter of opinion, but rather a total of accumulated points against you. Less points is better. There are five possible points assessed for this maneuver. The driver gets one point each for the following:
- Swaying during the test
- Raising the arms for balance
- Putting the raised foot down
- Cannot do the test at all
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's research claims that a driver impaired by alcohol can maintain balance for 25 seconds, but will usually lose balance before 30 seconds has passed. The officer should stand at least three feet away while the test is underway.
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