As you will recall, Susan Hartman, of the Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman, attended The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and The International Association of Chiefs of Police (ICAP) approved DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Practitioner Course, as presented by Mr. Robert La Pier.
The course went through the three standardized field sobriety tests (SFST’s), as laid out by NHTSA: 1.) The horizontal gaze nystagmus, (HGN); 2.) The walk and turn, (WAT); and 3.) The one leg stand, (OLS). These are the only tests that have been validated by NHTSA and should be used by law enforcement in evaluating each potential DUI. It should be noted that these tests were only validated to correlate to a specific blood alcohol content (BAC) and they are not be used to show impairment.
The two previous blog articles discussed the HGN and WAT tests. This article will address the OLS test.
The NHTSA manual states that this “test requires a reasonably dry, hard, level, and non-slippery surface.” If the person is wearing heels that are more than two inches, they should be given the choice to remove the shoes and perform the test barefooted.
There are many reasons why a person may not be able to adequately perform this test, regardless of their consumption of alcohol. For instance, as a person ages, balance and coordination is more difficult. If a subject has any current or prior injuries to their back or legs, they suffer from inner ear problems, or they are overweight by 50 or more pounds, they may have problems performing the test. However, in my experience, officers often state, “I will take your concerns and medical issues into consideration,” and then they proceed with having the subject perform the test. Continue reading →