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One Leg Stand Test DUI Cases

When properly administered, this field sobriety test is also composed of two stages, the instruction stage and the balance and counting stage. As with the HGN and WAT, the OLS also has a very specific protocol that officer is to follow in administering both stages this test.

During the instruction stage, you should have been instructed as follows:

Instruction Stage:
  • Stand straight, with your feet together,
  • Keep your arms at your sides,
  • Maintain this position until told otherwise.
  • DO YOU UNDERSTAND?

Once you indicated that you understood, the officer should next have instructed:

Balance and Counting Stage:
  • Raise one leg, either leg;
  • Keep raised leg approximately six inches (15 cm) off the ground, foot pointed out;
  • Keep both of your legs straight;
  • Keep your eyes on elevated foot;
  • Count out loud in the following manner: 1001, 1002, 1003, and so on, until told to stop

(Note: It is important for the officer to time the 30 second count for the test, i.e., during the proper administration, the officer should have timed you during the balance and counting stage to see if you could hold your foot in this position for 30 seconds).

One Leg Stand Test Clues

According to NHTSA, there are four visual clues that the officer looks for, and if he/she observes at least two of the four, you will be considered to have failed the test. The four test clues are:

  1. Sways while balancing
  2. Uses arms to balance
  3. Hops
  4. Puts foot down

Note: If you can't do the test, the officer will record as if all four clues were observed.

The most common mistakes most officers make with this test are to give incorrect instructions, and/or to ask the driver to count incorrectly or for an inappropriate time period. As with the WAT, the test conditions for the OLS are usually also not appropriate. (The NHTSA manual addresses the need for appropriate conditions).

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