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Field Sobriety Tests – The One Leg Stand






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Mar 15, 2016

Field Sobriety Tests – The One Leg Stand

If you’re driving and see police lights in your rear view mirror, remember that everything that’s about to happen can be used as evidence against you by the police. In fact, the police officer that’s pulling you over has already started gathering evidence that you’ve broken the law, and already think that they have enough to warrant further investigation.

This is especially important to keep in mind when the officer comes up to your window and starts to ask you questions. Everything that you say could come back to haunt you, so knowing which questions you need to respond to is important.

An excellent example is when a police officer asks that you to step out of the car so they can give you field sobriety tests. In Maine, field sobriety tests are voluntary, but police are very good at making it sound like you don’t have a choice. Going along with the flow and letting the policeman give you a field sobriety test can end up giving them all the evidence they need to arrest you for operating under the influence (OUI).

This is especially problematic when you realize that lots of field sobriety tests are woefully inaccurate, and lead to plenty of false positives.

The One Leg Stand is one of these field sobriety tests that is notorious for getting false positives, and putting innocent people into the significant legal trouble that comes with an OUI accusation.

The One Leg Stand is straightforward. You have to balance on one foot for thirty seconds, holding your other foot approximately six inches off the ground. While you do this, the police officer is looking for four clues:

  1. Swaying,
  2. Hopping,
  3. Using your arms to maintain your balance, and
  4. Putting your foot down before the thirty seconds have passed

If you do any two of these during the One Leg Stand, then you’ve failed, and given law enforcement a huge piece of evidence that you’ve been driving drunk. In fact, a failed field sobriety test like the One Leg Stand is often considered enough evidence to arrest you for OUI.

The problems with the One Leg Stand become apparent as soon as you do it. Stand up and give it a try, right now. It isn’t easy to keep your balance for thirty seconds. It’s even more difficult if you’re overweight, a senior citizen, or even if you’re just not that coordinated. It gets even harder to pass the One Leg Stand in a high-stress environment, like on the side of the road with cars rushing past and with a police officer looking for a reason to put your behind bars for OUI.

To make matters worse, police officers know how to make the One Leg Stand even more difficult to pass. By having you stand on rocky or uneven ground, or by giving vague instructions, police can maximize your odds of failing and increase their personal arrest numbers.

If you’ve been arrested for OUI and failed a One Leg Stand, or any other field sobriety test, you need an OUI-defense attorney like William T. Bly. Call his law office at (207) 571-8146 or contact him online to start planning your defense.



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