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How do field sobriety tests work? Part 2

Field sobriety tests sound scarier than they are in reality. All these tests do is measure your muscle coordination. While you go through the tests, the officers observe you for certain behavioral markers that indicate that your judgment is compromised. If you exhibit too many markers, you fail the tests. As discussed in a previous post, there are three field tests: the horizontal gaze, the one-leg stand and the walk and turn.

In a one-leg stand test, the officer will ask you to stand with 1 foot elevated about 6 inches and to count seconds, i.e., "one one-thousand, two one-thousand," etc. This will go on for 30 seconds as the officer observes your ability to maintain your balance. Did you sway, use your arms, hop around or drop your foot? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations has found that 65 percent of those who exhibit at least two of these markers have a BAC of 0.10 percent or higher

Remember, just because you failed the tests does not mean that you were driving drunk. People fail these tests for many reasons. Sometimes officers administer the tests on a slope or maybe you are suffering from a disease or condition that affects your balance. Additionally, injuries and age both affect your ability to complete these tests.

There are many rules that govern how these tests are administered. As a result, there are ways for you to contest the results. If you are facing drunken driving charges, you may want to contact a defense attorney. While you can try contesting evidence on your own, having an attorney with you greatly increases your chances of success. Drunken driving charges, while very serious, do not necessarily spell the end of your life and there are steps you can take to minimize your penalties.

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