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Standardized field sobriety tests: Can you pass?

In any exam where you know you will either pass or fail, it can cause some anxiety. However, when you are pulled over by North Carolina law enforcement and instructed to perform some roadside tests, your driver’s license and more could be at stake. AAA provides this information about standardized field sobriety tests.

Field sobriety tests are standardized, which means that officers have to be trained in how to administer and interpret them. Before the officer administers the various stages of the test, he or she should ask you if you have any issues that may affect the outcomes. This is because many health problems could cause false positives.

Passing the walk-and-turn and one-leg stand tests relies heavily on your ability to balance. If you sway or put out your arms to keep from staggering or falling, it may appear that you are intoxicated. Vertigo, inner ear conditions, medications or injuries may compromise your ability to comply. However, the officer also wants to see you wait until you have all the instructions before you begin, and that you complete them as directed. For example, if you take the wrong number of steps in a straight line or lose track of your count while standing on one foot, it may look suspicious.

If you have horizontal gaze nystagmus, there is no way you can pass this portion of the test. The jerking of your eyeballs as you track a moving object from side to side is involuntary, and alcohol is one cause. Eye diseases, central nervous system disorders, and depression and seizure medications can also cause HGN, though. While this information is provided to help you understand the SFST better, it is not legal advice.

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