One Leg Stand Field Sobriety Test

Challenged By Our DUI Lawyer in Harrisonburg

In Virginia DUI Cases, the one leg stand is the test that most jurors and judges will say, “If they can pass this test, they were not drunk.” The problem is, this field sobriety test – more so than the other test – is designed for failure.

The one leg stand test requires you stand with your hands firmly at your sides with both of your feet together while the officer gives you instructions. You then raise either leg approximately six inches from the ground, while keeping your leg straight. You are instructed to count one thousand one, one thousand two, and so on. The officer will time you for 30 seconds. You are instructed to look at your foot while performing the test but where you look is not part of the testing criteria.

The officer will look for signs that you could not follow his instructions, such as if you:

  • Sway while standing
  • Put your foot down
  • Raise your arms from your side
  • Hop during the test

In Virginia, if you do two or more of these things then the officer will grade your performance as indicative of a BAC of .08 or higher.

Problems with this Test

This test was not designed to measure alcohol levels at .08. It was validated for a BAC of .10 or higher. Furthermore, this test – like all of the field sobriety tests – was validated in a controlled environment, not on the side of a Virginia road with a variety of weather elements, passing vehicles, and other distractions.

Police are often taught to stiffen their leg and buttocks while performing this test in order to gain more stability during the testing phase. This is not a trick they give to suspects on the side of the road. Furthermore, people with depth perception issues, joint disorders, injuries, or a history of head trauma cannot adequately perform this field sobriety test.

The one leg stand is a voluntary DUI field sobriety test. That means there is no punishment if you politely refuse to perform this test. The officer will not tell you, however, that the test is voluntary. Instead, officers are trained to use command presence to make their request seem like an order or instruction rather than a request.

Contact Us for Proficient Representation

If you have been arrested for DUI, contact Harrisonburg DUI Attorney Bob Keefer for a free, no obligation case consultation. Bob is a certified instructor in the standardized field sobriety tests. He will evaluate both your performance and the officer’s instructions to you, as well as measure your performance using the criteria under which this test was validated.

To set up your free case evaluation with our DUI lawyer in Harrisonburg, either call us today at (540) 433-6906 or contact us online.

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When You Need a Traffic Lawyer,

Keefer Law Firm Can Help.

  1. Attorney Keefer is one of the few people in Virginia to call himself a NHTSA Certified Field Sobriety Instructor.
  2. He has completed the DOT Certified Breath Technician course on the EC/IR II, Virginia’s breath tester for evidence.
  3. He was a founding member of the DUI Defense Lawyers Association and is a member of the National College for DUI Defense.
  4. Attorney Keefer has more than 30 years of experience providing legal representation throughout Virginia.
  5. Our office contains the Alco-Sensor III, which is also used by law enforcement for preliminary breath testing.
  6. We offer free consultations for traffic offense and DUI cases.