What is a One-Leg Stand Test in Loveland, Fort Collins, and Greeley?

The one-leg stand test is used by Loveland, Fort Collins, and Greeley police officers to help determine if an individual operated a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is one of the few commonly used field sobriety tests throughout the nation.

How is the Test Performed?

The one-leg stand test requires the individual to stand on one foot with the other foot elevated approximately six inches from the ground. While maintaining balance, the individual must count aloud until the law enforcement officer orders the individual to stop and put the foot down.

The individual must also keep his or her eyes on the elevated foot while counting and maintaining balance.

How is the Test Measured?

The one-leg stand test can be used to measure the level of intoxication of an individual through several clues. The common clues that a law enforcement officer watches for while conducting the test include:

  • Swaying back and forth or from side to side while trying to maintain balance
  • Hopping on the grounded foot to maintain balance
  • Significant movement of arms to help maintain balance
  • Failing to keep one foot up or count while performing the test

The law enforcement officer conducting the test uses these clues to determine whether the individual failed the test based on points for any clues present during the test.

Problems with the One-Leg Stand Test in Colorado

Although the one-leg stand test is a commonly used field sobriety test, it is not without problems that could make it unreliable. As such, the failure of the test by some individuals might be due to issues associated with the test rather than intoxication.

External Conditions Affecting Reliability

One of the main problems with the one-leg stand test is the external conditions while performing the test. This might include the surface conditions, the time of day or night, and the weather conditions.

Additionally, the external conditions could lead to more potential distractions, such as incoming traffic, loud noises, and bright lights.

Factors Relating to Individuals

In some cases, there could be problems with the one-leg stand test due to issues with the individual performing the test. For instance, if an individual has a physical impairment, medical condition, or mental disability, it might be hard to gain reliable information from the test.

In addition, the act of standing on one foot is unnatural for humans, so a failure of the test could simply be the result of the unnatural demands of standing on one foot for more than a few seconds.

Officer Errors

Law enforcement officers can cause problems in the administration of the one-leg stand test that threaten the reliability of the test. A common error by officers is inaccurate timing of the test, which causes the individual to stand for a longer amount of time than required.

How a DUI/DWAI Attorney Can Help You

Due to the problems and subjective measures associated with the one-leg stand test, having an experienced DUI/DWAI attorney could be crucial. Sean P. Harrell defends clients in  Loveland, Fort Collins, Estes Park, Berthoud, Longmont, and Greeley, and as a seasoned attorney understands the process for securing the necessary evidence from the state to help discount a one-leg stand test.

Effectively discounting the results from the test could make the difference in establishing reasonable doubt for a DUI/DWAI charge. If you're facing a DUI/DWAI in Colorado, call The Harrell Law Firm at 970-236-6576 today for a Free Initial Consultation about your case.