My Recent DUI Training in Field Sobriety Testing

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of undergoing training to be certified in DUI detection and Field Sobreity Testing (FST) in accordance to the standards set out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  I had priously been certified by the State of Georgia in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, while I was a police officer in DeKalb County, Georgia.  During the training, I learned how to administer the three standardized field sobriety tests, Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test (HGN), the Walk and Turn test and the One Leg Stand test.  The HGN test looks for nystagmus in the eyes.  Nystagmus is the involuntary jerking of the eyes.  The officers are trained to look for 6 clues.  The clues are lack of smooth pursuit, distinct and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation, and onset of nystagmus prior to 45 degrees.  If four clues are found, then NHTSA has conducted studies to show that it is 88% accurate that the person has a BAC over a .08.  On the second test, the walk and turn, the officer is looking for eight clues.  Two are in the instructional phase and six are in the walking stage.  They are: Starts too soon, unable to maintain balance, stops while walking, misses heel to toe, walks off line, raises arms, improper turn, and wrong number of steps.  If the officer observes two clues then NHTSA’s study shows it is 79% accurate that the person has a BAC of .08 or more.  The final standardized test is the one leg stand test.  Here, the officer is looking for four clues.  They are: Puts foot down, raises arms, hops, and sways.  If the officers observes two clues then NHTSA’s study shows it is 83% accurate that the person has a BAC of .08 or more.

Hiring the right attorney to look at the administration of the tests and other factors that could compromise the validity of each test is important in your DUI case.  If you are charged with DUI in Cobb County, Georgia or any surrounding county, please visit my website to discuss your case.

Written by Richard N. Blevins, Jr., former Cobb County State Court prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney in Cobb County, and former police officer.

Written by Allen Trapp who is board certified by the National College for DUI Defense and the author of Georgia DUI Survival Guide Visit Website

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