When you get pulled over, if the officer smells the odor of an alcoholic beverage on your breath and think that you’ve been drinking, they will ask you to get out of the car to do the first test. They check your eyes for involuntary jerking of the eye. This test is called the horizontal gaze Nystagmus test. Sometimes officers will do this as a preliminarily test while you’re still seated in the car with your head turned to the side, which is not the way they should be doing this test, but they do it anyways. They will usually do it again once you’re out of the car. They will also have you do three standardized tests. One of the tests is the walk and turn, which is the heel to toe test. In the walk and turn, you take nine steps out, turn, and come back while counting out loud. Another test is the one leg stand test, which requires you to stand on one leg while counting. They will time you for 30 seconds, then stop you.
There are other tests that they will give you. You’ve seen them in movies, read about them, or heard about them. Sometimes there’s the finger count test. The Romberg balance test, which is head back, eyes closed for 30 seconds. And the touch the nose test. These three tests are given a lot less than they used to be. The three standardized field sobriety tests are the ones I see the most in Marin County and in the San Francisco Bay Area. Most officers in Marin County do not use the other tests. I have seen some officers in San Rafael doing the touch the nose test, but not very often. We also see them do the passive alcohol device in Marin County and in San Rafael. The passive alcohol device is a device that is used to look for alcohol molecules. They will shine the device on you, and run it back and forth to help detect alcohol.
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