Written by attorney Denis Hurley White Jr


I talk to people so often that say they passed all the Field Sobriety Tests that I thought I would publish a list of the things law enforcement is supposed to consider. First of all there are only three tests that we call Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. I won't go into detail here but these are the ones that are probably given the greatest weight. Secondly, if the instructions for the tests aren't given correctly, then it would be pure luck if you did well. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus or HGN. (Google nystagmus for a definition) o Lack of smooth pursuit o Distinct and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation o Onset of nystagmus prior to 45 degrees. Walk and turn o Can't keep balance while listening to the instructions o Starts before the instructions are finished o Stops while walking o Does not touch heel to toe (more than a 1/2 inch gap) o Steps off the line o Uses arms to balance (more than 6 inches from the sides) o Improper turn One Leg Stand o Sways while balancing o Uses arms for balance (more than 6 inches from the sides) o Hopping o Puts foot down The police reports often list lots of other things but the items above are how the tests are supposed to be judged. For a more detailed explanation of these and other field sobriety tests consider contacting the Law Office of Denis White at (916) 444-3300.

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