What is an officer looking for during a field sobriety test?

| Jun 7, 2021 | Drunk driving, Dui |

Contemporary police officers are trained professionals who are keen to impaired driving when they stop highway motorists. Regardless of whether it is a routine traffic stop or at a sobriety checkpoint, they all use a similar protocol when assessing suspected drivers in Oklahoma. These are called sobriety field tests, and they include differing methods of determining potential intoxication. Aside from an obvious suspicion based on odor of either alcohol or marijuana, there are other chemicals that they are checking for as well when they request stopped drivers to perform certain acts.

Eye redness and coherency

One of the first things officers look for is the ability of the eye to respond to light movement or for redness in the eye. Substances that increase blood pressure can also increase eye redness. While this is not always the reason for red eyes, other inabilities to respond can indicate otherwise. In addition, counting forward or backward, or even requesting the suspect to count time silently in their head is also a check to determine response times and coherency. These are all signs of chemical DUI.

Walking exercises

While many officers no longer use the heel-to-toe walking demonstration for a variety of reasons, it can still be used occasionally. This demonstrates ability to control the feet and legs used in stopping a vehicle. Additionally, touching the nose with a finger while eyes are closed is a common test as well that indicates inability to control the arms. These are practiced to determine hand and arm control. Ability to control extremities is vital to good response times, and those suspected of DUI for both alcohol and controlled substances typically fail when intoxicated.