What are the different types of field sobriety tests?
A: If you consent to a field sobriety test, the officer will ask you to do one or several of the following five tests. Remember to follow instructions and do not start until the officer specifically tells you to.
In this test the officer is looking at what your eyes are doing. He will be looking to see if your eyes are wavering or if they cannot smoothly track and follow a finger or a pencil approximately six inches from your nose, as both of these things suggest alcohol impairment. You will “fail” this test if the officer sees your eyes trembling or jerking.
2. Standing on One Leg
This test is designed to measure your balance, sometimes while your mental attention is focused on something else. One possibility is that the officer will instruct you to place your hands at your side, to extend one foot thirty inches and count by thousands (“one, one thousand, two, one thousand, . . .”). Another possibility is that the officer will ask you to simply stand erect for 30 seconds without swaying. Finally, you may also be asked to pick up an object off the ground. The officer will be looking to see if you begin too early, lose count, lose your balance, fall over or display poor coordination when attempting to pick up the object.
3. Walk and Turn
In this test, you will be asked to walk a certain number of heel-to-toe steps away, then turn and walk the same number of heel-to-toe steps back. You will “fail” this test if you begin too early, step off the line, lose your balance, lose count of how many steps you took, or put space between your heel and toe.
4. Finger to Nose
This test involves standing erect with feet together, closing your eyes, extending your arms and touching your finger to your nose. You will “fail” this test if you begin too early, have trouble maintaining your balance, miss your nose or show any sign of muscle tremors or miss your nose.
5. The Rhomberg Balance Test
In this test, the officer will instruct you to stand erect, close your eyes, tilt your head back and estimate how long thirty seconds lasts. The officer will be looking for any muscle spasms or tremors and to see whether alcohol might have slowed down your perception of time.