DUI & Criminal Defense

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DUI LIBRARY | Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTS)

CHAPTER:

Field Sobriety Tests

The results of roadside tests police have people suspected of being impaired are often given much more weight than they deserve. Here we discuss the different kinds of Field Sobriety Tests Commonly used in Arizona DUI cases: (1) Walk & Turn, HGN, One Leg Stand, and several unstandardardized tests as well. 

The Three Primary Tests

  1. Walk and Turn
  2. One-Leg Stand
  3. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

Horizontal Gage Nystagmus

At the side of the road, law enforcement routinely makes DUI arrests based upon results of a Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test. The underlying premise of the test is: you drink enough alcohol, and then you eyes will show HGN.

Alcohol, however, is not the sole cause of HGN. In State v. Horn, the court recognized the following causes or possible causes of HGN:

  • problems with the inner ear labyrinth;
  • irrigating the ears with warm or cold water;
  • influenza; streptococcus infection;
  • vertigo;
  • measles;
  • syphilis;
  • arteriosclerosis;
  • Korchaff’s syndrome;
  • brain hemorrhage;
  • epilepsy;
  • hypertension;
  • motion sickness;
  • sunstroke;
  • eye strain;
  • eye muscle fatigue;
  • glaucoma;
  • changes in atmospheric pressure;
  • consumption of excessive amounts of caffeine;
  • excessive exposure to nicotine; aspirin;
  • circadian rhythms;
  • acute head trauma;
  • chronic head trauma;
  • some prescription drugs; tranquilizers,
  • pain medication,
  • anti-convulsant medicine;
  • barbiturates;
  • disorders of the vestibular apparatus and brain stem;
  • cerebellum dysfunction;
  • heredity;
  • diet;
  • toxins;
  • exposure to solvents;
  • extreme chilling;
  • eye muscle imbalance;
  • lesions;
  • continuous movement of the visual field past the eyes; and
  • antihistamine use.

What is the purpose of field sobriety tests?

Are field sobriety tests mandatory?

What are field sobriety tests?

Can you refuse Field Sobriety Tests?

Field Sobriety Tests - The Guide

Want to understand what these FST mean? And what they don't? Then...
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