What To Know About Field Sobriety Testing

When you were pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) in Oklahoma, you may have been subjected to field sobriety testing. These tests are meant to determine impairment, but they are subjective tests that are often administered and evaluated incorrectly.

If you have been arrested on allegations of drunk driving in Oklahoma, turn to the DUI defense attorneys at Nichols Dixon. We will evaluate your case for all possible defenses, including defenses regarding your Oklahoma standardized field sobriety testing.

Types Of Field Sobriety Tests

The following are the main field sobriety tests that officers will use during a DUI stop:


The walk-and-turn test involves standing with one foot in front of the other, heel to toe. You must then take nine steps, turn around and take another nine steps. You must count each of your steps out loud. If you make two mistakes (such as starting too soon, losing your balance or stopping), an officer may determine that you are drunk. This test leads to inaccurate results nearly one-third of the time.

One-Leg Stand

Like the walk-and-turn, the one-leg stand field sobriety test is accurate only two-thirds of the time and involves multiple parts of your brain. An officer will ask you to raise one leg a few inches off the ground while counting and keeping your arms at your side. If you cannot stand still for 30 seconds, an officer may determine that you are intoxicated.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)

The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is slightly more accurate than the walk-and-turn and one-leg stand. It involves following a pen or other object with your eyes. Officers will look to determine whether your eyes follow the pen smoothly or erratically.

Other field sobriety tests that may be performed but that have not been scientifically validated as legitimate tests include counting backward, speaking the alphabet and counting using the tips of your fingers.

Why Do Police Officers Perform Field Sobriety Testing?

Officers will ask people to perform field sobriety tests to establish probable cause, which they need to arrest you on suspicion of DUI. Unlike a breath test, however, you can politely refuse to submit to a field sobriety test.

Contact A DUI And DWI Defense Attorney In Norman And Wewoka

Whether you are a University of Oklahoma student facing DUI charges for the first time or a repeat DUI offender, there are defenses to the field sobriety evidence prosecutors have against you. As former prosecutors, the defense lawyers at Nichols Dixon know how prosecutors use this evidence and can anticipate their strategies, allowing us to build a strong defense on your behalf.

Learn more in a consultation by calling 405-217-4118 or sending us an email.