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Do I Have to Take a Field Sobriety Test in Nevada?

If or when the police in Nevada pull you over for suspected DUI, officers will typically ask you to perform one or more field sobriety tests (FSTs) to determine if you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed three standardized tests and police officers are provided detailed instructions on how to administer and score each test.

The following are the three standardized FSTs the police may administer:

  1. One-legged stand (OLS) test – The officer will instruct you to stand in place with one leg six inches off the ground and then count to 30 by “thousands” (i.e., one one-thousand, two one-thousand, etc.). The police will look for certain clues of intoxication, such as putting your foot down, hopping, using your arms to balance yourself, or swaying while balancing yourself.

  2. Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test – The officer will instruct you to keep your eyes fixed on his/her pen, flashlight, or finger as it moves from side to side. The police will observe your pupils for an involuntary jerking known as “nystagmus” that is generally interpreted as a sign of impairment.

  3. Walk-and-turn (WAT) test – The officer will instruct you to take nine (9) heel-to-toe steps and then you are required to keep one foot on the ground and pivot around before taking nine (9) steps back in the same manner. You must also count the number of steps aloud. The police will look for certain clues of impairment, such as balancing difficulties, not being able to walk heal-to-toe, taking less or more than nine steps before turning around, or stepping out of line.

It is important to understand that you can politely decline the FSTs without facing additional penalties. However, you will likely still be arrested – but at least the officers do not have the FST results to use against you in court.

If you or a loved one has recently been arrested for a DUI in Reno, contact the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Stover today and schedule a free consultation. Let a former prosecutor defend you immediately!