Philadelphia Field Sobriety Tests

In Pennsylvania, there are a number of different field sobriety tests used by officers that are trained in field sobriety methods to detect whether a person should be submitted for a breathalyzer and/or a blood test. These tests act as the initial determination an officer would give the driver of the car to determine whether or not they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating a motor vehicle. The following is information on the three most common tests administered by law enforcement.

If you submit to these tests and are arrested it is important you consult with a Philadelphia DUI lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

For this test, what often happens is an officer will ask an individual to follow a light back and forth over and over. A lot of times it’s in a horizontal fashion. That way the officers can see whether the individual’s eyes are dilating properly or they’re not dilating properly. If you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol, your eyes and your pupils will react in a specific fashion. The officers are trained to look for that and will emote that and that may be the reason or a reason why the officer will later determine to submit you to a blood or a breathalyzer test.

Walk and Turn Test

As for the walk and turn test, that is the test that is used in a variety of different ways. They will have you walk a line often, turn around and walk back. Most attorneys would recommend that if it’s a female involved and the female is in particular shoes like high heels that they request the officer’s permission to take the high heels off and then submit themselves to the test.

Anything that can make an individual walk and not be able to turn in a proper fashion should be kept from that test. So an individual has a fair chance to show that the officer that they’re capable of walking a straight line turning and walking that straight line back. Again it’s never definitive of a person who’s under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs who can’t walk a straight line. There could be million different reasons why. However it’s just one indicator to a police officer.

One Leg Stand Test

At the end of that walking the line officers will often have an individual stand on one leg to test their balance, raise one foot up, and touch their nose with a particular finger to see if a person can remain balanced.

Again, different people react differently to different tests. It may show that a person doesn’t have the best balance but it might not be an indicator that the person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Often what an officer or officers will do is administer all three tests in addition to other tests often with the alphabet in reverse or with the numbers test, just to get more information so that they can develop a proper reason to submit the person to have their blood drawn and/or take a breathalyzer test. Without a proper basis, an officer requesting such tests can be denied by the court and those test results can later be suppressed from a trial. That’s why it’s imperative to seek the advice of an experienced Philadelphia DUI attorney so that the attorney can evaluate what tests were given to you even though those tests are not admissible in court and determine whether the officer really had reasonable suspicion or probable cause to submit the individual for a blood test and/or a breathalyzer test.