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Field Sobriety tests

Lets Discuss Field Sobriety Tests In Maryland

Field sobriety tests are a critical part of DUI and DWI investigations in Maryland. Understanding these tests can help you better prepare if you ever find yourself subjected to them or in need a DWI Lawyer.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has developed three standardized field sobriety tests that are widely used by law enforcement officers to determine if a driver is impaired.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)


The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test involves observing the driver’s eyes as they follow a moving object, such as a pen or flashlight, horizontally.

Key Points:

  • Involuntary Jerking: The officer looks for involuntary jerking of the eyes, which becomes more pronounced when a person is impaired.
  • Smooth Pursuit: The officer checks if the eyes can follow the object smoothly.
  • Angle of Onset: The point at which the jerking begins can indicate the level of impairment.


The Walk-and-Turn test is a divided attention test that requires the driver to listen to instructions and perform physical tasks simultaneously.

Key Points:

  • Instructions: The driver must take nine heel-to-toe steps along a straight line, turn on one foot, and return in the same manner.
  • Balance: The officer observes the driver’s balance and ability to follow directions.
  • Clues of Impairment: Indicators include stepping off the line, using arms for balance, and incorrect number of steps.

One-Leg Stand

The One-Leg Stand test is another divided attention test that involves balancing on one leg.

Key Points:

  • Instructions: The driver must stand with one foot approximately six inches off the ground and count aloud for about 30 seconds.
  • Balance: The officer looks for swaying, using arms for balance, hopping, or putting the foot down.
  • Clues of Impairment: Indicators include swaying, hopping, and using arms to maintain balance.

Non-Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

In addition to the standardized tests, officers may use non-standardized field sobriety tests to assess impairment.

Alphabet Recital

The Alphabet Recital test requires the driver to recite a portion of the alphabet, usually without singing.

Key Points:

  • Instructions: The officer may ask the driver to start at a specific letter and stop at another.
  • Indicators of Impairment: Slurred speech, incorrect sequence, and inability to follow directions.


The Finger-to-Nose test assesses the driver’s coordination and ability to follow instructions.

Key Points:

  • Instructions: The driver must close their eyes, tilt their head back, and touch the tip of their nose with the tip of their finger.
  • Indicators of Impairment: Missing the nose, swaying, and using the wrong hand.

Romberg Balance Test

The Romberg Balance Test evaluates the driver’s sense of balance and ability to estimate time.

Key Points:

  • Instructions: The driver must stand with feet together, head tilted back, eyes closed, and estimate the passage of 30 seconds.
  • Indicators of Impairment: Swaying, opening eyes, and inability to keep track of time.

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Richard Brueckner’s extensive experience as a former prosecutor and his award-winning practice make him the ideal choice for defending against DUI and DWI charges. Here’s why you should choose him:

  • Expert Knowledge: Deep understanding of Maryland DUI and DWI laws.
  • Former Prosecutor: Insight into prosecution strategies, allowing for effective defense planning.
  • Award-Winning Attorney: Recognized for excellence in legal practice.
  • Client-Focused: Committed to achieving the best possible outcomes for his clients.
  • Community-Oriented: Dedicated to serving the Ocean City community.

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Local Resources for Legal Assistance

For more information on field sobriety tests and legal assistance in Maryland, check out these resources:

Resource Link
Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration mva.maryland.gov
Maryland Courts mdcourts.gov
Maryland Department of Transportation mdot.maryland.gov
Ocean City Police Department oceancitymd.gov/oc/departments/police
Richard Brueckner, Attorney at Law ocdwilawyer.com

Frequently Asked Questions

Question Answer
Q: What are field sobriety tests? Field sobriety tests are physical and cognitive tests conducted by police officers to determine if a driver is impaired.
Q: Are field sobriety tests mandatory? While you can refuse to take field sobriety tests, refusal can result in immediate consequences, including arrest.
Q: How accurate are field sobriety tests? Standardized field sobriety tests are generally reliable but can be challenged based on various factors, such as medical conditions.
Q: Can field sobriety tests be challenged in court? Yes, an experienced attorney can challenge the validity and administration of field sobriety tests in court.
Q: What should I do if I fail a field sobriety test? If you fail a field sobriety test, it’s important to contact an experienced attorney like Richard Brueckner to discuss your case and legal options.

Charged With A DUI or DWI? Call The Most Trusted DWI Lawyer, Rich Brueckner 24-7 at 410-430-1464

Understanding field sobriety tests is crucial for all drivers. Richard Brueckner, with his extensive experience and dedication to his clients, is the ideal lawyer to help you navigate the complexities of DUI and DWI charges. Contact him today for a consultation and ensure you have the best defense possible.

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