Being pulled over for the suspicion of drunk driving is a disheartening experience. Once this happens, the police officer has to determine if the driver is impaired. 

Police officers have a few options they can use to do this. Chemical tests, including blood or breath tests, are one option. Others opt to use field sobriety tests. There are many tests they can use, but only three are part of the standardized field sobriety test that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recognizes. 

1. Walk-and-turn

The walk-and-turn tests a person’s ability to multitask. The person has to take nine steps in a straight line, then turn and return to the starting point. The steps must be done heel-to-toe, but impaired people likely won’t be able to do this. 

2. One-leg stand

The one-leg stand is a test of balance. The person has to pick a foot up about six inches from the ground and hold it there for 30 seconds. A person who’s impaired will have trouble balancing and will swing their arms or put their foot down.

3. Horizontal gaze nystagmus

In the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the officer has the person follow an object side-to-side. If the eyes jerk while following the object, impairment is likely. 

Anyone who faces drunk driving charges in Texas should explore all their options for a defense strategy. In some cases, the SFST can be called into question because it’s a highly subjective test based on the test giver’s interpretation. Having someone on your side who understands the court system in your jurisdiction is beneficial.