Field Sobriety Tests

Columbia DUI Criminal Defense Attorney

Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) are a series of tests employed by law enforcement to determine the possible impairment of a driver and to establish the grounds for probable cause for a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrest. If you are arrested after the administration of these tests, be aware that you have rights as the accused and that you need to speak with a Columbia criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and safeguard your future.

As a former prosecutor with over 20 years of legal experience, you can trust that The Steele Law Firm, LLC is the best choice for fighting your criminal charges. I am resilient in building defense strategies and challenging the prosecution’s case against my clients. You could be facing serious penalties if you are found guilty, so look to my firm to work for you.

What is involved in a Field Sobriety Test?

Common tests administered by law enforcement to those suspected of drunk or impaired driving:

  • One-leg stand
  • Walk-and-turn
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN)

One-leg stand

This test calls for the suspect to remain standing while holding one foot roughly six inches from the ground and counting by given intervals until instructed to put their foot back down. The officer will try and observe any difficulties while trying to remain standing, such as swaying, hopping, or using the arms to stay balanced. A suspect putting their foot down before the officer gives their consent, or in violation of his instructions, can be a basis for the officer to establish probable cause and arrest you for drunk driving.


A walk-and-turn test asks for the suspect to walk several steps in a straight line before turning and walking back. Officers look for difficulty keeping balance, failure to touch heel to toe, or not following given instructions.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

An HGN test looks for an involuntary jerking or tracking of the eye as the suspect is asked to track the movement of a pen or instrument with their eyes as the officer holds the object in his hands. If the eyes have difficulty following the moving object, or track or jerk irregularly, the officer can take the results of this test ground to establish probably cause for a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrest.

Even if an officer believes an FST “proves” you are under the influence, as a highly-qualified Columbia criminal defense lawyer, I can successfully challenge these tests to ensure that they were administered properly by the arresting officer and complied with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards and other training standards. Don’t wait to call my firm and begin building your defense!

Call my firm to get started with your legal defense—(803) 402-8544!

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