During your traffic stop, police may have asked you to perform the one-leg stand test as an assessment of intoxication or impairment. Although officers commonly use this type of test, an experienced King County DUI lawyer might find various reasons to discredit the results in your case.
As one of the three standardized field sobriety tests researched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the one-leg stand test requires an established procedure and relies on “clues,” or signs of impairment, to assess a driver’s condition. Therefore, police failure to follow the required procedures could cast doubt on the reliability of the test results in your case.
The one-leg stand test relies on four standardized clues. All of the clues focus on the subject’s ability to stand on one leg successfully, without losing balance. Swaying and hopping are signs of intoxication. In addition, the officer must observe whether the driver uses her arms to keep her balance or puts her foot down during the test. If the officer observes at least two of the four signs of intoxication, the officer can use the test to assess the likelihood that the driver’s blood alcohol concentration exceeds the limit set by state law.
Grounds for challenge
Many factors might discredit or weaken the results of your one-leg stand test. For example, a driver might suffer from a leg, back, or middle ear condition that could have impaired his ability to stand on one foot. Old age or weight problems also often affect balance. Lastly, the circumstances of the test — the condition of the road surface or the driver’s shoes, for example — could also serve as a basis to challenge the one-leg stand test.
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