When someone is pulled over for suspicious driving, the police officer is trained to test for different causes. Were they distracted? Texting? Intoxicated? To find out, an officer will ask the driver to remove themselves from the vehicle and perform standard field sobriety testing. This method is not meant to deliver a diagnosis with 100%, rather it helps determine whether or not the driver should be taken off the road immediately.
If a driver agrees to go ahead with the testing in Oklahoma, they will see three tests (more often than not):
1. One-leg stand. This is exactly what it sounds like – the officer asks the driver to stand on one leg in order to test balance. Arms need to stay at the side with one leg approximately 6 inches off the ground. The driver will then be asked to maintain this position for ~30 seconds while they talk or count aloud. To pass this test, the driver needs to maintain balance.
2. Horizontal gaze nystagmus. This is the test we all see when the officer has the driver follow a pen or finger with their eyes. It’s done in order to gauge the involuntary reflexes of the eye muscles to determine if there are any depressant factors (alcohol, usually).
3. Walk and turn test. Also known as “walk in a straight line.” This is when an officer asks the driver to walk in a straight line, turn, and walk back in a straight line. Sometimes they have to repeat the process.
These test give full authority for the police officer to then determine if you should submit additional tests via breathalyzer or others. Depending on the officer’s own subjective judgment, the rights of anyone in Oklahoma can be put to the test if they do not “pass” a field sobriety test in Tulsa or anywhere else. The State laws in OK are harsh and can be devastating if you are convicted. The best thing to do is contact a top Tulsa defense attorney immediately to protect your rights.