One Leg Stand
In the One-Leg Stand test, the person is instructed to stand with one foot approximately six inches off the ground and count aloud by thousands (One thousand-one, one thousand-two, etc.) until told to put their foot down. The officer times the subject for 30 seconds (notice the officer does not tell you to hold your foot up for 30 seconds, but if you put it down, you’ve basically failed the test). The officer looks for four (4) indicators of impairment, including swaying while balancing, using arms to balance, hopping to maintain balance, and putting the foot down.
Prosecutors sometimes argue that a person’s “failure” of field sobriety tests such as the one-leg stand conclusively prove a person’s intoxication. However the NHTSA itself admits that only 65 percent of individuals who exhibit two (2) or more indicators in the performance of the test will have a BAC of 0.08 or greater. And, like the walk-and-turn test, there are many factors other then intoxication that can make it difficult for a person to stand on one foot for 30 seconds.
It is important to carefully examine field sobriety test evidence. In many, if not most instances, police officers do not administer the test in full compliance with NHTSA guidelines. For example, an officer’s opinion should be considered suspect if he/she uses improper scoring criteria, was improperly trained, incorrectly instructed the suspect on how to perform the test or did not use the standardized methodology in performing the tests. Cross-examining police officers with their own training manuals frequently exposes their lack of knowledge and skill in conducting these tests. At trial, all of these factors must be fully explored so that a judge and/or jury understand the fallibility of field sobriety testing.
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Texas DWI Lawyer Chris Dorbandt
- I have prior law enforcement experience and knowledge of police procedures, including Intoxilyzer operations and other specialized police tactics.
- I have won a large number of trials.
- I have been handling DWI cases regularly since 1998.