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Home  >  Articles  >  Sobriety Tests for Drunk Driving

Sobriety Tests for Drunk Driving

Drunk driving in Massachusetts is referred to as OUI (operating under the influence). OUI is generally defined as the operation of a vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol content) at or higher than the legal limit, as is set forth by each state. Furthermore, an individual may also be charged with an OUI offense if he or she is operating a vehicle under the influence of any drug – legal or illegal – that impairs his or her ability to drive safely. When an officer pulls someone over for suspected OUI, there are several ways that he or she may assess the driver’s sobriety levels, including the following:

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

Nystagmus refers to the involuntary movement of the eye. Excessive alcohol / drug consumption can disturb the central nervous system and hinder the brain’s ability to control eye movements. An officer may observe nystagmus fairly easily if the subject is unable to hold focus on the officer’s finger moving horizontally across their field of vision. This, however, must be used in conjunction with other assessments.

The Walk and Turn

Typically, this task involves walking in a straight line heel to toe, and then turning at the end of the line to walk back the same way. The subject fails the test if he or she falls off of the line.

The One-leg Stand

For the one-leg stand, the officer will ask the subject to stand up straight with their arms at their sides, lift one leg six inches off the ground, and count up starting from 1,000. If the subject stumbles, flails their arms to keep balance, or has trouble counting up, they fail the test.

Contact a Cape Cod DUI Defense Attorney Today

None of these field tests have proven to be 100% accurate, as the mere presence of an officer can provoke immense feelings of nervousness. If you are facing a DUI charge, an experienced attorney at James Powderly may work with you to challenge each and every aspect of your arrest in court. To discuss the specifics of your case with a Cape Cod defense attorney, please call our office at (508) 343-0676.