When Chicago law enforcement officers investigate a driver they suspect is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they have a variety of evidence-gathering techniques available to them. These include objective measures of intoxication such as measuring a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) and more subjective observations made about a driver’s appearance and behavior. One of the ways in which law enforcement determines whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol is by conducting the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST)1, which is actually a battery of three tests that test a person’s coordination, balance, and mental state designed to determine whether a driver’s BAC is over the legal limit.
Regardless of the type of evidence gathered, law enforcement can make mistakes and machines can malfunction, so no DUI is ever an open-and-shut case. Consequently, anyone facing allegations of driving under the influence should discuss their options with a Chicago DUI defense attorney immediately.
The Three Tests
The three tests that make up the SFST are as follows:
The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – This test involves the officer asking the driver to follow a pen or other object with his or her eyes as it moves horizontally across the driver’s field of vision. The officer looks for involuntary twitching of the eye muscles that occur more prominently when a person is intoxicated.
The One-Leg Stand – In this test, the officer asks that the subject lift his or her leg about 6 inches off of the ground while counting aloud by thousands. The test last for 30 seconds, during which the officer looks for signs of intoxication.
The Walk-and-Turn – The walk-and-turn involves the subject walking 9 steps, heel-to-toe, along a straight line, and then turning and returning the same way. The officer administering the test observes the subject for signs of intoxication, such as loss of balance or taking the wrong number of steps.
For people who have been accused of DUI2 based in whole or in part on the results of the SFST are not necessarily guilty of DUI. The test itself has been criticized by lawyers and academics as being inconclusive and for being too subjective. As a result, there are often multiple ways that an experienced Chicago DUI defense attorney can challenge the results or conclusions drawn from the SFST.
For a free consultation with attorney Nenye Uche call our office today at 312-380-5341