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New Jersey DWI Field Sobriety Tests

Though there are a number of field sobriety tests that police officers may employ, only three are recognized by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA): the walk-and-turn test, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, and the one-leg stand test. These three tests make up the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) battery and are frequently used by police in New Jersey for people suspected of DWI violations.

The NHTSA has recognized these tests as being possible indicators of drunk driving when administered in a controlled environment. However, the side of a busy highway or road is hardly a controlled environment. In reality, these tests are meant to be a screening tool, though police view them as pass/fail—fail, and you get arrested, regardless of any other factors.

Problems with SFSTs

The main problem with these field sobriety tests is that even a perfectly sober person can fail them. Further, outside influences such as inclement weather, bright lights from passing cars, or even certain medical conditions can hurt your performance on one or more test.

Some of the more common reasons for failing a field sobriety test include:

  • being overweight
  • being elderly
  • having leg or back injuries
  • suffering from medical illness
  • wearing inappropriate footwear (such as high-heels for women)
  • being naturally clumsy or ill-balanced
  • being nervous or scared

Don’t Leave Your New Jersey DWI Case to Chance

If you have been charged with DWI in New Jersey, you need an attorney who knows the law and understands the Standardized Field Sobriety Testing protocols. Attorney Steven W. Hernandez is a Standardized Field Sobriety Testing instructor under the guidelines set forth by the NHTSA and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. This means that Mr. Hernandez is certified in SFSTs at a higher level than most law enforcement officers in the state of New Jersey.