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A Guide to New Jersey Field Sobriety Tests

May 4, 2011 |

Field sobriety tests in New Jersey are conducted so that officers can determine whether there is probable cause to arrest the person for DUI. In New Jersey, there are standardized tests that are used as part of field sobriety testing.

The first test is the One-Leg Stand.  The test is typically administered for a period of 30 seconds. The motorist is asked to stand on one leg with the other leg raised approximately 6 inches off the ground. Officers will be looking for signs of intoxication that include hopping, using the arms for balance, and swaying.

The second part of the test is the Walk and Turn Test. In this test, the motorist will be required to walk heel-to-toe on a line drawn by the officer. The officer conducting the test will be looking for signs like failure to maintain balance on the line, stopping while walking, walking off the line, and using arms for balance on the line.

The third test validated in New Jersey is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test. In this test, the motorist will be required to follow an object from side to side with only the eyes. If the motorist wears eyeglasses, the officer may ask him to remove the eyeglasses. The object, like a pen, must be placed about 12 to 15 inches from the person's eyes. The objects should be held above eye level.  Each eye will have to be tested separately. Officers are typically looking for any jerking movements of the eyeballs, or an inability to follow the moving object with only the eyes.

In order to challenge field sobriety test findings, your New Jersey DUI attorney will have to call into question the fairness and reliability of the testing. DUI defense based on rejection of the findings of the sobriety test depends heavily on the person being able to remember the exact instructions that were given to him at the time of the test.

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