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New Hampshire One-Leg Stand Test

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has designed and standardized three field sobriety tests to help law enforcement agents determine if a driver is over the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit: the one-leg stand test, the walk-and-turn test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. If an individual fails any of these tests, he or she can be arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New Hampshire.

Known as a “divided attention” test, the one-leg stand is designed to measure a person’s ability to follow instructions and perform a simple physical task. When a person is under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating substance, his or her cognitive and physical abilities can become impaired.

To perform this test, you will be instructed to stand on one leg (you choose which one) with the other foot six inches off of the ground while counting one-one thousand, two-one thousand, etc. until instructed to stop. The entire test should last 30 seconds.

While you perform the one-leg stand test, the officer will look for four clues, which include: swaying while balancing, hopping to maintain balance, using your arms to balance, and placing your foot down during the test. If the officer observes two or more clues, he or she can place you under arrest for DWI.

There are a number of problems with the New Hampshire one-leg stand test. First, there are several factors—besides intoxication—that could cause a person to fail this test. For example, you may be nervous or there may be distractions, such as the passing of vehicles on the road. Second, this test must be administered in ideal conditions, which means that the surface should be hard, dry, and level.

Some people, such as those over 65, more than 50 pounds overweight, or with a physical condition, should never be asked to perform this test. If any of these conditions apply to you, a DWI defense attorney can challenge the results of your field sobriety tests.