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What are police officers looking for in field sobriety tests?

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2022 | Drunk Driving Defense |

Each year in Illinois thousands of people are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. First-time offenders might face misdemeanor charges, while repeat offenders may face severe felony charges. However, all DUI cases have one thing in common: they should be taken seriously, because the potential consequences can disrupt your life in the short-term and long-term.

Something else that is common throughout many DUI cases is that the arresting officer might perform field sobriety tests. These tests have become fairly standardized throughout the country, with three in particular in use: the “walk-and-turn” test; the “one-leg stand” test; and the “horizontal gaze nystagmus” test. When these tests are performed, police officers are looking for a variety of factors that may indicate that a person is intoxicated.

Standard tests

The “walk-and-turn” test and “one-leg stand” test are both pretty straightforward. Both tests are designed to test a person’s ability to divide attention – focusing on separate tasks at once, following directions and also testing a person’s coordination. The “horizontal gaze nystagmus” test is a bit different. In that test, commonly recognized as the “follow my pen with your eyes” test, the police officer is looking for involuntary jerking in the suspect’s eyes, which can occur when a person is under the influence of alcohol.

If you are facing a DUI charge in Illinois, you need to think carefully about your defense strategy – and your future. It may be in your interest to contest the charges. An attorney with experience in DUI defense can help you understand your legal options.