Field Sobriety Tests: What Police Look For-Advice from DUI Attorneys

When stopped after consuming alcohol, you are not required to perform field sobriety tests upon the request of the police in Massachusetts. DUI attorneys across the state will advise you of this right. If you do elect to take the field sobriety tests, there are a variety of tests the police can ask you to perform. Two standardized tests that are the most commonly used in Massachusetts are the nine-step walk and turn test, and the one-leg stand test.

The nine-step walk and turn test is simply where you are asked to walk nine steps in a straight line, heel to toe, turn around, and walk nine steps back. The police are trained to look for eight clues in this test. These include: balancing during instructions, starting on time, walking heel to toe, stepping off line, whether you use your arms for balance, whether you turn correctly, whether you take the correct number of steps, and whether you stop while walking. 

The one-leg stand test is a coordination test that requires the performer to raise the leg of his/her choosing at least six inches off the ground, with the toe pointed forward, counting by one-thousands, until you reach thirty-one-thousand, or until the officer stops the test. The police are trained to look for four clues in this test.  These include: whether the individual sways while performing the test, whether arms are used for balance, whether the foot is placed on the ground before the test finishes, and whether the test subject hops.

While these tests are based on objective criteria, whether or not someone passes or fails either test depends on subjective interpretations. For instance, if you pass five of the eight clues on the nine-step walk and turn test, does this mean that you passed? Failed? Does it mean you are under the influence? These are all questions that a jury will be faced with, and you should hire experienced DUI attorneys to present your performance on these tests in the best light.

To contact an experience criminal defense attorney, contact Shane W. Surrette of Worcester, MA below:

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