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What types of tests does a field sobriety check include?

Field sobriety tests check a suspect’s ability to perform the multitasking inherent in operating a vehicle. Sample tests include:

  • Walk-and-turn (heel-to-toe, straight line)
  • One-leg-stand
  • Recite all or part of the alphabet
  • Count backwards
  • Nystagmus test (follow an object with the eyes to monitor eye movement reaction – eyes should track object smoothly)

One common myth about field sobriety tests is the demand by law enforcement officials to recite the alphabet backwards. Many sober people cannot do this without struggling so it is not included as a test.

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