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The One Leg Stand Field Sobriety Test

by Joseph C. Maya on Aug. 11, 2017

Criminal DUI-DWI Criminal 

Summary: A blog post about one of the field sobriety tests a police officer may employ during a DUI pullover.

For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney, please call the offices of Maya Murphy, P.C. today at (203) 221-3100 or Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

Under Connecticut law, any person who operates a motor vehicle within the State shall be deemed to have given his or her consent to a chemical analysis of the operator’s blood, breath or urine and, if such person is a minor, such person’s parent, parents, or guardians are also deemed to have provided their consent.  However, prior to the breath or chemical test, the investigating/arresting officer may perform field sobriety tests upon the driver to determine whether it is probable that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  One such test is the One-Leg Stand test (OLS).

The OLS test requires a driver to stand with his or her arms at their side, and raise and hold one (1) leg at least six (6) inches off the ground for thirty (30) seconds.  The driver must simultaneously count the seconds out loud according to specific instructions. The thirty (30) second time period is important to the test as research indicates that it makes the test sensitive to people in the .10% to .15% BAC range who might otherwise pass if the driver had to maintain the position for less than the thirty (30) second requirement.

The OLS testing conditions are similar to those required by the Walk and Turn test (WAT), (i.e. level ground, and a hard, dry, non-slippery surface).  The investigating officer must also ensure that there is adequate light for the driver to provide a visual frame of reference.  The officer must remain motionless while observing the performance of the test from three (3) to four (4) feet away, as any movement may alter the results of the test.  Even assuming all proper procedures are met, the test criteria are still not necessarily valid for people age sixty-five (65) or older, people fifty (50) pounds or more overweight, or people with leg injuries or inner ear disorders.

The test is scored by the investigating officer according to four (4) scoring clues.  These clues include whether the suspect is: swaying side-to-side or back-and-forth while maintaining the one-leg stance; moving their arms six (6) inches or more from the sides to maintain balance; hopping in order to maintain the one-leg stance; and/or placing his or her foot down one (1) or more times during the thirty (30) seconds.  If the driver cannot perform the test, or puts his or her foot down three (3) or more times, the officer must record the results as if all four (4) clues were present, and determine that the driver has failed the OLS.

If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence, contact the experienced criminal law attorneys today at 203-221-3100, or by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com.  We have the experience and knowledge you need at this critical juncture. We serve clients throughout Connecticut and all of Fairfield County, from Greenwich and Stamford to Westport and Bridgeport.


Source: cga.ct.gov

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