Field Sobriety Tests

It is not mandatory to perform or to blow into a handheld roadside breath test.


After being certified in Standard Field Sobriety Tests, Mr. Vaughn suggests that you do not perform field sobriety tests. This does not mean that you will not be arrested, but will give law enforcement less ammunition at trial. Remember, law enforcement officers begin to take notes of your faculties as soon as they lay eyes on you. Sober persons as well as people with certain medical conditions can have difficulty performing standard field sobriety tests.

The usual tests given:

  • Walk and turn
  • One leg stand
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus (or pen test)
  • Finger to nose
  • Finger count
  • Reciting the alphabet

Each of these tests have a degree of certainty to them. NONE of the tests researched have been proven to be 100% accurate.

There are many factors that may affect the performance and accuracy of these roadside tests:

  • Nerves
  • Illness
  • Headlights
  • Weight
  • Age
  • Type of footwear
  • Road conditions
  • Lack of coordination

Law Enforcement Officers are looking for:

  • Weaving/Swerving
  • Following too closely
  • Stopping for no reason
  • Going slower than the speed limit (speeding is not a sign of impairment)
  • Slowed response to traffic signals or signs
  • Rapid change in speed
  • Close contact with center lane or lane makers
  • Turning abruptly, widely, or illegally


  • Open container in car
  • Fumbling fingers
  • Gripping steering wheel
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Odor of an alcoholic beverage
  • Soiled clothing/disheveled
  • Drivers head, arms or legs stuck out of the window
  • Erratic or obscene gestures
  • Blank look on driver’s face

I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH…BE POLITE to the law enforcement officer