One-Leg Stand Test

One-Leg Stand Test, Nystagmus Test Procedures, Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Vertical Gaze Nystagmus, standardized field sobriety tests, New Jersey, Driving While Intoxicated, DWI, Driving Under the Influence, DUI, drunk driving, Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, Warren County, criminal defense, traffic ticket, juvenile, attorney, lawyerThis narrative is about a cop and a fire chief. Not long ago, an officer in Jackson, New Jersey, charged another town’s fire chief with drunk driving, per the news. But first the officer subjected the chief to a battery of standardized field sobriety tests. Among them is the one-leg stand test. It all began, however, when dispatch received calls claiming the chief almost hit a bus and a wall.

Subsequently, the cop saw the fire chief allegedly remain in place after stopping short at a stop sign. After turning on emergency lights and exiting his car, the officer saw the chief allegedly drive away. Thus, the officer activated his sirens, pursued the chief, and stopped him.

During the roadside investigation, the officer saw the chief allegedly search for his credentials for over a minute. Additionally, the officer reportedly detected an odor of alcohol emanating from the vehicle. He also claimed he observed vomit and urine stains on the chief’s clothing. Furthermore, the officer alleged the chief was unable to find all his documents, per the news. The cop asked the chief where he came from, and the chief answered at a party. The cop asked if he had been drinking, and the chief answered affirmatively.

The officer ordered the chief out of his car. Eventually the chief alighted, allegedly lost his balance, reportedly denied being drunk, and supposedly urinated on himself, per the news. In addition, he purportedly failed the horizontal gaze nystagmus test and fell backward during the one-leg stand test.

Based on these and other observations, the police charged the fire chief with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, and traffic on marked lanes.

One-Leg Stand Test

To establish probable cause for a DUI arrest, and ostensibly to prove operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence, police conduct Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). Included in this battery of tests is the One-Leg Stand Test, which requires a dry, hard, level, and non-slippery surface.

One-Leg Stand Test Instructions

The One-Leg Stand Test begins with instructions from the officer. While demonstrating the initial position, the officer should tell the subject, in effect, Stand with your feet together and your arms down at the sides. Do not start to perform the test until I tell you to do so. Do you understand the instructions so far?

One-Leg Stand Test Demonstration

After the subject verifies he understands the instructions, the officer should explain the test. While demonstrating the test, the officer should state, in effect:

  • When I tell you to start, raise one leg, either leg, with the foot approximately six inches off the ground, keeping your raised foot parallel to the ground.
  • You must keep both legs straight, arms at your side.
  • While holding that position, count out loud in the following manner: one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three, until told to stop.
  • Keep your arms at your sides at all times and keep watching the raised foot.
  • Do you understand?

One-Leg Stand Test Performance

After verifying the subject understands, the officer should instruct him to perform the test. The officer should observe the subject from a safe distance while remaining as still as possible so as not to interfere. The officer will watch for whether the subject:

  • Sways while balancing. The officer should report whether the subject moves side-to-side or back-and-forth while maintaining the one-leg stand position.
  • Uses arms for balance. The officer should report whether the subject moves his arms 6 or more inches from the side of the body to keep balance.
  • Hops. The officer should report whether the subject is able to keep one foot off the ground without hopping to maintain balance.
  • Puts foot down. The officer should report whether the subject is unable to maintain the one-leg stand position, putting the foot down one or more times during the 30-second count. If the subject puts his foot down, the officer should instruct him to pick the foot up again and continue counting from when he set it on the ground. The officer should time the test for 30 seconds, and discontinue it after 30 seconds.

Defending a person charged under the DUI statute requires the ability to analyze the officer’s administration of the tests. Of course, that requires a thorough knowledge of these tests as well as the law. And while I hope everyone passes these tests with flying colors, if the officer decides you failed, NJ Drunk Driving Lawyer Michael A. Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations on all cases involving DUI. Call Now—(856) 812-0321.

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