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The One-Leg Stand

If you are facing a recent charge of driving under the influence (DUI), you need an Orange County DUI lawyer with experience and knowledge of state DUI laws. Officers are required to follow established protocol and procedures with regard to the administration of a field sobriety test. As such, any deviation from required guidelines could result in the immediate dismissal of your case. Your field sobriety test will be heavily scrutinized by your Orange County DUI lawyer to ensure all aspects of the test were administered properly, especially the traditional one-leg stand test.

The federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued standard guidelines to be used by state officers administering field sobriety tests. With respect to the one-leg stand aspect of the examination, the NHTSA recommends the test to be administered in the following manner:

“The suspect is instructed to stand with one foot approximately six inches off the ground and count aloud by thousands (One thousand-one, one thousand-two, etc.) until told to put the foot down. The officer times the subject for 30 seconds.”

Signs of impairment include swaying while balancing, use of the arms to balance, hopping to maintain a balance or putting one foot down during the test. According to research performed by the NHTSA, 83% of DUI suspects exhibiting two or more of these behaviors will have a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater.

Unfortunately, many arresting officers fail to follow simple guidelines with respect to the one-leg stand test. As an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer can attest, officers have repeatedly committed the following acts during a one-leg stand test:

  • Instructing the suspect to count to 30 silently;
  • Informing the suspect to hold his or her leg suspended until instructed to place it back on the ground; or
  • Inconsistencies with regard to where hands are to be held. Some instruct suspects to hold them to the side, while others want them parallel to the shoulders.

Failure on the part of an arresting officer to properly follow standard guidelines could result in your Orange County DUI lawyer successfully arguing that the results of your one-leg stand test, or field sobriety test in its entirety, should not be considered when deciding the defendant’s guilt or innocence. As such, without the field sobriety test results, most DUIs are dismissed for lack of evidence.

If you are facing a DUI and would like to enlist the help of a qualified and experienced Orange County DUI attorney, contact Chad Maddox today at (714) 695-1500.