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What factors are measured in field sobriety tests?

If you are ever pulled over by and officer in New Jersey, you can be requested to participate in field sobriety tests. This request can be made if, during the stop, the officer suspects that you may be intoxicated. There are three different tests administered as part of the field sobriety tests. All are outlined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The State of New Jersey identifies what particular actions law enforcement should look for in each of the three tests. These things help officers to determine their next steps and whether to pursue a drunk driving arrest against you. In the one-legged stand test, you must lift one foot six inches off the ground and keep it pointed, counting aloud until instructed to stop. Any use of your arms to help you retain balance, hopping, putting your foot down or otherwise losing your balance during this time can reflect negatively on you.

During the walk-and-turn test, you must take an exact nine paces in a heel-to-toe fashion one direction and then back again. You can be judged negatively if you fail to maintain heel-to-toe alignment, take too few or too many steps in either direction or start or stop the test when not instructed or allowed to. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test tracks how your eyes follow a light. The ability for both of your eyes to track equally, the size of your pupils and any twitching noticed when your eyes are at rest are all part of the factors measured.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but general information about field sobriety test administration in New Jersey.


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