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What kinds of field sobriety tests are there?

There are a few different field sobriety tests that you can be asked to take if you're stopped on the suspicion of drunk driving. These roadside tests include things like portable Breathalyzer tests and also performance-based activities like walking in a straight line or touching your nose with your finger. Many of these tests seem easy when you're not intoxicated, but when under the influence, it can be difficult to complete them accurately.

One thing to remember is that these tests are not infallible. For instance, with the walk-and-turn test, you're expected to walk in a straight line and to turn on one foot. However, if you have back problems, issues with your balance or other medical conditions, this test could easily be failed despite you being sober.

Another test that officers may use is a one-leg stand. With this test, you're asked to balance with one foot off the ground. If you can do so for 30 seconds without swaying, losing your balance, hopping or putting a foot down, then you pass the test. However, again, medical conditions could make it difficult to pass this test.

Other tests you may be asked to perform include nonstandard tests such as reciting the alphabet or counting. For those who struggle with a lisp or slur, this could be an issue. It's important to tell the officer you struggle with a medical condition and offer to provide evidence with a medical bracelet or card if asked when you have one available.

Not everyone who appears drunk is, and it's important to defend yourself from the moment off the stop. You deserve to be treated fairly.

Source: FindLaw, "Field Sobriety Tests," accessed Jan. 31, 2017

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