Kansas City DUI Lawyer | Field Sobriety Tests

If you are charged with a DUI in Missouri or Kansas, the Kansas City DUI lawyers at the Kane Law Office and KCticketlaw are centrally located in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, and have the experience and expertise to aggressively defend your criminal and administrative Kansas driving under the influence (DUI) charges, Missouri driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges, or related charges resulting from a refusal to submit to blood, breath, or urine testing.

 

Field Sobriety Tests Basics

Field sobriety tests are used when an officer suspects a driver of operating a vehicle under the influence or impaired.  These tests enforce DUI laws and usually precede a breathalyzer test.    Field sobriety tests are physical in nature and allow an officer to observe the drivers’ physical ability, balance, attention, and other factors that may show impairment.

The purpose of sobriety tests is to ensure that the officer has probable cause to make an arrest for operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

 

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) endorsed by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration consists of three standard tests:

  1. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
    • This term refers to the involuntary shaking/jerking of the eye that occurs when the eye gazes to the side. When impaired, this jerking is exaggerated.  Officers look for the inability to smoothly follow the object, and jerking eye movement.
  2. Walk and Turn
    • This test is administered by requiring the suspect to take nine steps, heel-to-toe, along a straight line; turn on one foot; and then return in the same manner in the opposite direction.
  3. One-Leg Stand
    • Suspects are asked to stand with one foot about six inches off the ground and count for 30 seconds.  The testing officer observes balance, hopping, and arm movement to determine if the driver is impaired.

Drivers who fail field sobriety tests are typically given a breathalyzer test to determine their BAC before an arrest is made.

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