The Truth about the One Leg Stand Test, from Skilled DUI Defense Attorneys in Franklin, Brentwood and Columbia
What you should know about field sobriety tests in Tennessee
Field sobriety tests are an important resource for law enforcement officers looking to make an arrest for DUI. The final test in the series is usually the One Leg Stand, or OLS. It is designed to prove that a driver is impaired because he or she cannot keep his or her balance.
Most drivers in Tennessee don’t realize that they can refuse to take those tests, and therefore end up contributing to the very case against them. That is why working with an experienced DUI defense attorney from the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates may be imperative when it comes to keeping your license and avoiding a conviction. Our team knows how to build successful defense strategies against field sobriety tests, and will fight to protect your freedom and your future.
What is the One Leg Stand test?
There are three field sobriety tests: the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the Walk and Turn (WAT), and the One Leg Stand. During this test, an officer will instruct you to raise one foot (it doesn’t matter which one) six inches off of the ground, and to count off in thousands – as in, “one-one thousand, two-one thousand, and so on – until he or she asks you to stop. Though you are required to count to 30 in order for the test to be valid, not every law enforcement official will tell you this ahead of time.
During the test, the officer will be looking for four different “clues” which indicate alcohol impairment:
- Did you sway?
- Did you hop on one foot?
- Did you use your arms for balance?
- Did you put your foot down before he instructed you to do so?
According to AAA, “A 1998 validation study found that 83 percent of individuals who exhibit two or more such indicators in the performance of the test will have a BAC of 0.10 of greater.”
The OLS field sobriety test is not fully accurate
The OLS on its own is no real indicator of drunk driving: after all, anything from age to injury to ear infections can throw someone off balance. Add the heightened sense of anxiety most people feel when they are pulled over under suspicion of DUI, to the excessive visual distractions of the flashing lights and passing cars, and you have a recipe for disaster when it comes to the tests.
The problem is that in order for the OLS to be fully accurate, it should be administrated in a controlled environment. It is entirely possible for a completely sober individual to fail the OLS field sobriety test because of:
- Uneven pavement
- Shoes with high heels
- The officer’s failure to give you a complete set of instructions
- General lack of coordination
- Physical injuries
- Overwhelming nervousness
- Your age
At our firm, we work one-on-one with clients, reviewing the police reports and calling in outside field experts when applicable. We always strive to have the results of field sobriety tests thrown out completely, whenever possible. If we cannot have them marked inadmissible, we will build a case to prove that the results are inconclusive or incorrect.
Strategic defenses against field sobriety tests by experienced Franklin, Brentwood and Columbia attorneys
At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we know that your future could be on the line if you are convicted of driving drunk or under the influence of drugs. Our seasoned team of DUI defense lawyers know how to build a successful case on your behalf, aimed towards your best interests and goals. If you were charged with DUI because of the results of the OLS or other field sobriety tests, please call 615.412.1121, or fill out our contact form. We are proud to fight for clients in Brentwood, Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Murfreesboro, Pulaski and Spring Hill, Tennessee.