The Law Firm of Starzynski Van Der Jagt, P.C.
A Professional Corporation of Attorneys & Counselors at Law in Colorado and Wisconsin
Field Sobriety Tests

These are not really tests at all; rather, they are physical agility exercises that are subjective in nature, and are intended to solicit admissions or other evidence.



Most people don't realize that these tests are optional and the officers who administer them won't tell you that, but they are completely voluntary. In Colorado, you can politely refuse to take the Field Sobriety Tests in their entirety.

The most important thing to know about the Field Sobriety Tests is that a skilled defense lawyer will know how to handle them in court.

A consultation with a qualified DUI & DWAI attorney is just a click away. Get the help you need to solve your legal problem. Fill out the form on the right or start a live chat. These \"tests\" may include the following:

Nystagmus: The officer will position an object (such as a pen) 12 inches away from the driver's face, and move the object from side to side while watching the subject's eyes. The officer is looking for involuntary jerking or trembling of the eyeball. This jerking or trembling may be a sign that the subject has consumed an intoxicant.



Walk and Turn: The subject takes nine heel-to-toe steps along a line, turns, and takes nine heel-to-toe steps back. The officer is looking to see if the accused can keep their balance, follow instructions, begin early, stop during the test, leave space between heel and toe, step off the line, or lose balance while turning.



Standing on One Leg: The accused is instructed to stand with heels together, arms at the side, then raise one leg six inches off the ground while counting out loud until the officer allows the accused to stop. The officer is looking for raising of the arms, swaying, hopping, putting the foot down, inability to stand still, body tremors, muscle tension, and any statements made by the accused during the test.



Finger to Nose: This test requires the suspect to place his or her feet together while standing straight with eyes closed, and bring the index finger to the nose as ordered by the officer. The officer is looking for body sway, body tremors, eyelid tremors, muscle tension, or any statements made by the accused to support a finding of intoxication.

The Rhomberg Balance Test: The accused assumes a position of attention, closes their eyes, tilts their head back, and estimates 30 seconds. The officer is looking for the inability to stand still or steady, body or eyelid tremors, opening eyes to maintain balance, swaying (either front to back or side to side), muscle tension, or statements made by the accused. The officer is also testing the suspect's internal clock, which will usually be slow in the case of alcohol or depressants, or fast in the case of stimulants.

Other Field Sobriety Tests include finger tapping, hand clapping, counting backwards, or reciting the alphabet.

These tests are designed to check \"divided attention\", a critical skill in operating a motor vehicle. However, there are many people who, for many innocent reasons, cannot perform these tests to the officer's satisfaction, and pay the price with a D.U.I. arrest.

One of the most dangerous Field Sobriety Tests is the Preliminary Alcohol Screening test , also called the PAS test. This is a portable breath test to determine the presence of alcohol. In Colorado, the officer is supposed to advise the suspect that the test is voluntary. Many times, they do not.

The most important thing to know about the Field Sobriety Tests is that a skilled defense lawyer will know how to handle them in court.

A consultation with a qualified DUI & DWAI attorney is just a click away. Get the help you need to solve your legal problem. Fill out the form on the right or start a live chat.

In the State of Colorado, the field sobreity test consists of: 1. the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), 2. the walk and turn (WAT), and 3. the one-leg stand (OLS). These tests are considered by most law enforcement offices to be reliable. However, there are ways to skew the administration of the test to make failure more likely, like waiting until noisy cars go by before giving instructions. Even in cases where the test is administered according to standardized procedures, test inaccuracy can be as high as one-third. FSBs are not mandatory in Colorado.

The State of Wisconsin uses essentially the same test as Colorado, and it's not mandatory in Wisconsin either. Also like Colorado, the breathalyzer test is required under the principle of implied consent, which means that you have already agreed that you cannot refuse the test by virtue of having received a driver license. Put another way, if you have a driver's license and you refuse the test, you will be arrested.


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