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How are field sobriety tests conducted?

It happens every day throughout the United States, including the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area. After a long day of work, you stop by the local watering hole for a couple drinks with buddies. Or it's Saturday night and it's your friend's birthday, and you'll only have a couple then head home. But when one or two turns out to be more than a few, you run the risk of driving while intoxicated.

Drunk driving is a serious issue throughout America. Thousands of Americans each year are injured or killed in DWI accidents. Local and state authorities are aware of the issue, and often take proactive measure such as public campaigns to increase awareness and checkpoints during weekends and holidays when drunk driving increases.

If you have been pulled over under the suspicion of drunk driving, you may be asked to perform a field sobriety test. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has endorsed a Standardized Field Sobriety Test encouraged to be used by law enforcement officers. It consists of three parts, a Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, which monitors the involuntary jerking of one's eyes as it gazes from side to side; the Walk and Turn, which asks the suspect to walk, heel to two for nine steps in a straight line, then turning around and returning in the same manner; and the One-Leg Stand, which asks a suspect to stand on one leg with the other leg suspended about six inches off the ground for 30 seconds. Failure to do any of these could be an indication that the suspect is driving while impaired.

If you find yourself facing drunk driving charges, it is important to understand the laws and prepare before defending yourself in court. While you do have the right to represent yourself or work with a public defender, it is often in a defendant's best interest and reach out to a firm dedicated on working with criminal law. They have the experience and knowledge on how to handle such cases. With a strong criminal defense team at your side looking at your situation and examining all the facts, you may be able to have your changes reduced or even dismissed, depending on the circumstances of your arrest. Your future is too important to take for granted.

Source: findlaw.com, "Field Sobriety Tests," Accessed June 16, 2017

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