3 types of Field-Sobriety Tests in Colorado


Whether you stick to parties in Weld County or travel to the surrounding areas to enjoy the nightlife, you should be careful never to drink and drive. After all, if you have a blood alcohol concentration over Colorado’s 0.08% legal limit, driving may cause you to incur significant legal penalties. You may also face a variety of related consequences after a DUI arrest. Nonetheless, officers arrest approximately 60 individuals for drunk driving every day in Colorado.

If an officer stops your vehicle because he or she suspects you are drunk, you may have to perform a field sobriety test. The National Highway Transportation Administration has standardized three types of these tests. If you find yourself in the middle of a DUI stop, an officer may ask you to perform one or more of the following:

1. Horizontal gaze nystagmus test 

When performing the HGN test, you must follow an object with your eyes while keeping your head facing forward. If an officer notices involuntary jerking of your eyes, he or she may think that you have consumed too much booze. Still, intoxication is not the only reason that a person’s eyes may jerk.

2. Walk-and-turn test 

The walk-and-turn test requires you to walk nine steps forward and nine steps back. To successfully pass the test, you must put your toe to your heel and count the steps. Naturally, if you have mobility difficulties, passing the walk-and-turn test may be virtually impossible.

3. One-leg standing test 

Finally, an officer may ask you to balance your weight on one leg. Holding the elevated leg six inches above the ground, you must stare at the leg and count slowly to 30. If you put your foot down, sway, hop or otherwise break the formation, you fail the test. 

Unfortunately, even under ideal circumstances, field sobriety tests are only reliable between 65% and 77% of the time. Therefore, you may be able to use the test to defend yourself against DUI charges. Put simply, by understanding how officers in the Centennial State conduct field sobriety testing, you can better plan both for asserting your legal rights and staying out of trouble.