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The many types of field sobriety tests

When a person is pulled over by police for suspicion of driving under the influence, it may not be long before he or she is asked to partake in a variety of field sobriety tests.

While not always the case, these tests typically come before a Breathalyzer test. Once complete, the officer has a better idea of where a person is in terms of his or her physical ability, balance and attention level.

The Standardized Field Sobriety Test consists of three distinct tests:

-- Horizontal gaze nystagmus

-- Walk-and-turn

-- One-leg stand

All three of these tests are endorsed by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.

When looked at in an overall sense, the three components of the Standardized Field Sobriety Test are meant to help police determine if an alcohol impairment exists. Along with the above tests, there are others that can be implemented, such as counting the number of fingers raised by an officer, reciting the alphabet and looking at the sky while holding your arms out to the side.

Even though police are doing their job in keeping the public safe, there are times when mistakes are made. For example, a person could be considered drunk when in all actuality he or she failed a field sobriety test as the result of a medical condition.

It is important to know what field sobriety tests measure and how to determine if you have been treated fairly by police. This will put you in position to make the best case possible when your day in court finally arrives.

Source: FindLaw, "Field Sobriety Tests," accessed Sep. 10, 2015

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