Have you recently been charged with DWI in North Carolina? Did a police officer ask you to perform a field sobriety test known as the one-leg stand? If so, you should contact DWI defense attorney Bill Powers right away. Bill Powers of the Law Offices of Powers McCartan focuses his practice on the defense of DWI and can scrutinize the evidence of your one-leg stand test results. While this test is standardized by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, there are many things that can go wrong during the test.
For example, did you know that police have certain protocols that they must follow when administering a field sobriety test? Prior to asking you to take the test, the officer must weigh certain factors such as: are you more than 50 pounds overweight, over 65 years old or physically handicapped? If so, you should not take this test. Also if you are wearing heels more than 2” high, you should be allowed to take them off before the test.
The officer must also make sure that you can perform the test in a safe environment, away from traffic. You cannot be expected to pass this test if you’re standing on a slippery surface, if you’re on a hill or if it’s windy. If it’s determined that you are a candidate that could be expected to reasonably perform this test, the officer must first explain and then demonstrate how to complete the test.
When you begin the test, the officer will first ask you to raise one of your legs (you have the right to choose which leg) six inches off the ground. You must keep your arms at your sides and cannot use them to help you balance. As you do this, the officer will ask you to count out loud to 30 by thousands: one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, and so forth all the way to thirty.
During the test, the officer will observe you to see if you use your arms to balance, hop, put your foot down more than twice, or sway while balancing. The officer will likely say that you failed to satisfactorily perform the test if he or she observed you exhibiting two of these clues or cues during the one-leg stand test.
One Leg Stand
- Instruction Stage – Stand with feet together and arms at side, don’t move from this position until told to do so.
- Do you understand?
- Approximately 6 inches off the ground keeping foot point
- Keep both legs straight, look at your elevated foot, count out loud One thousand and one, one thousand and two, and so on until told to stop
- Officer must time for 30 seconds
- Maximum of 4 clues for test
NHTSA certain individuals over 65 years of age, back, leg or inner ear problems, or people who are overweight by 50 or more pounds had difficulty performing this test.
Individuals wearing heels more than 2″ high should be given the opportunity to remove their shoes
One Leg Stand “Clues” or “Cues” Sway
- Arms to balance
- Puts foot down