Field Sobriety Tests

DUI Attorneys in Hilton Head, SC

Law enforcement agencies often rely on questionable results from field sobriety tests to secure an arrest after pulling people over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). What they do not want you to know is that they know field sobriety tests are unreliable, and that you have the right to challenge their results. If you were arrested for a DUI and you believe a field sobriety test (FST) is the main reason they put you in cuffs, contact our Hilton Head DUI lawyers from Bauer & Metro, P.C. We are eager to put our 35+ years of collective legal experience to good use defending our clients from the injustices of the criminal justice system.


Reach us at 843.842.LAWS today for more information.


Most Common Forms of Field Sobriety Tests

All across South Carolina, and indeed the United States, highway patrol officers use a fairly standardized set of field sobriety tests. Each one is meant to study and analyze a driver’s behavior but it is only as scientific as it sounds. The truth behind the matter is that a police officer needs to use their own judgement and discretion to come to a conclusion, not a more-reliable set of information. In the end, even a driver who is entirely sober, no alcohol in their body, could be mistaken for someone who is intoxicated due to the seemingly random results of a field sobriety test.

Three of the most commonly used field sobriety tests are:

  • One-leg stand: You will be told to stand on one leg and hold that position for some time, maybe up to a minute. Try to do that now and see how successful you are. Now imagine your chances on the side of the road with an officer judging you. Just your nerves alone can make you shaky and skew the results of the test.
  • Straight-line walk: Other than doing a balancing act on one leg, you may be asked to walk a straight line, one foot in front of the other, without extending your arms for balance. You might even be asked to make a swiveling turn at the end of the line and go back. Once again, try this now in the comfort of your home or office. Depending on the footwear you chose today, not your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), this could be difficult.
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus: If you don’t recognize the scientific name of this test, it involves the officer shining a light in your eye, waving a pen back and forth, and asking you to follow it with only your eyes, not your head. This is as disorienting as it sounds and fails to take into consideration variables such as tiredness and normal imperfections to your eyesight.

There are other field sobriety tests that you could encounter but it is unlikely. The main similarity between these uncommon forms and the rest is that they are just as unreliable.

Challenge the Results, Protect Your Rights

When you retain the services of our Hilton Head DUI attorneys, we can get right to work on your case, reviewing your arrest up and down. When we pinpoint a problem in the prosecution’s claims, we hone in and exploit it. In a DUI case, this usually means deconstructing the use of a field sobriety test and questioning whether or not you should have been arrested in the first place. If not, everything else that happened afterwards is essentially a moot point and should not be used in court.


Figure out the details of your case during a no-cost consultation with our team today!


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I was in Hilton Head for a friends wedding and had the misfortune of being pulled over and was arrested for DUI. Driving while under the influence is nothing to be taken lightly these days. It can affect your job and many other things due to not being able to operate a vehicle. In no way am i condoning drinking and driving, but let's face it, everyone makes mistakes. I was terrified! It felt like ... - Kye G