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Field sobriety tests and operating while intoxicated Test three: One Leg Stand (OLS)

Sammie Eyde

Field sobriety tests and operating while intoxicated

Test three: One Leg Stand (OLS)

The holiday season is upon us.  With the holiday season comes holiday parties.  Many times, those holiday parties involve alcohol.  If you’re pulled over on suspicion of OWI, an officer may ask you to step out of your vehicle and submit to field sobriety tests.  This is part three of a three-part series to provide you more information on what those field sobriety tests are and what officers are looking for.  The third test is the One Leg Stand or OLS.

What is it?

When an officer has reasonable to suspicion to believe you may be operating while intoxicated (OWI also known as DUI), he or she may request you step out of your vehicle to perform what are known as the field sobriety tests (FST).  These tests were developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety as tools for police to use when suspecting someone of OWI.  Officers look for “clues”, which are indicators of impairment, in order to form probable cause to make an arrest.

After administering the horizontal gaze nystagmus, officers move on to the divided attention FSTs.  Divided attention tests measure ones ability to divide attention between mental tasks and physical tasks, which are important for safe driving.  In these tests, the officer observes your ability to listen to directions and follow those directions properly.  One of those divided attention tests is the One Leg Stand (OLS)

How is it administered?

This test is administered in two parts

  • The instructional stage
  • The balance and counting stage

During the instructional phase, an officer will explain and demonstrate how the test should be performed.  Participates should be given specific instructions on how to perform the test.  While performing the test, officers are observing a participant’s ability to recall and follow the proper instructions.

During the balance and counting stage officers are looking at just that: balance and counting.  The officer is looking for clues of impairment including

  • Swaying while trying to balance on one leg
  • Using arms for balance
  • Hopping while trying to maintain balance
  • Putting the raised foot down
  • A person’s estimation or proper counting of 30 seconds

Charged with a DUI?  Get help today

This test is only reliable if administered properly and there are a plethora of ways to challenge the accuracy of this and other FSTs.  If you are charged with a DUI, you need a dedicated and skilled legal defense on your side.  At Grewal Law, PLLC, our attorneys will help you understand the tests administered in your case and review any flaws in the administered FSTs.  We also will work to make sure your rights are protected.  Contact us today to help with your DUI charges.

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