Certified NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Test InstructorTrainer


Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
Oklahoma Field Sobriety Tests are designed to be failed.  If it were not for the fact they result in arrests of people who SHOULD NOT be arrested - are a not-so-funny and cruel JOKE. But, these are NOT laughing matters.

"Field Sobriety Tests" can be expected to be requested of a person in almost EVERY DUI/APC arrest. The officer will expect you to "do as you’re told" when he asks you to get out of your car and "do a couple of tests to see if you are safe to continue to drive". And, certainly, you MUST get out of the car, if and when he requests it of you: THAT is not discretionary! You might believe that if you pass these tests, you will be allowed to go on about your business and WON’T be arrested. Think again. If a police officer has reached the point in his investigation of you as a potential drunk driver, he has - IN ALMOST EVERY INSTANCE - already decided to arrest you. He is ONLY attempting to get you to GIVE him more evidence against you which is NOT generally protected by the Miranda warning(s).

And, you are NOT going to pass those tests. As indicated, they are DESIGNED to be failed, EVEN if you are sober . . . period!

SFST’s were designed to be done in a specific manner or way. Any alleged reliability or validation that might be claimed by the government is ONLY when these are done as originally designed. However, Mr. Sifers’ office has, in the thousands of cases that they have represented, seen only a VERY FEW of these tests that were administered to his clients in this PROPER and PRESCRIBED manner! The government's own research tells them that the tests are "compromised" if they are NOT done by the procedures that are set out. However, it is the RARE cop who seems to know this proper procedure. But, they do them ANYWAY, arrest people, and claim that the SFST’s were the reason that it was decided that the person should have been arrested!!

Designed to be failed? Absolutely. Consider what it takes to pass or fail one.

On the "walk and turn" test (see below), a person must complete the test with a 97% level of accuracy (EVEN WHEN IT IS GIVEN IN THE ABOVE REFERENCED PROPER MANNER) to pass this test. 97%! On the one leg stand (see below), a person must complete the test with a 98% level of accuracy (EVEN WHEN IT IS GIVEN IN THE ABOVE REFERENCED PROPER MANNER) to pass this test! 98%! If ANYONE was required to pass a driving test at this level, there would only a few licensed drivers on the road in the U.S. today. Indeed, it is UNLIKELY that the officer scored that high on the required proficiency tests when he went through the training course for these field tests!

For more on this and to see how these figures were developed, click on C. Jeffrey Sifers’ photo below and read the article that he presented to the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyers Association a couple of years ago.

REMEMBER: these tests are voluntary. There is NO requirement for you to do them. The officer will not tell you that. If you refuse to submit to them, there is NO LEGAL ramification. It will not revoke your license. What it WILL DO is avoid your voluntary giving of evidence against yourself, whether it is valid evidence or not.

SO, should you submit to these field tests, if asked by an officer?

Mr. Sifers advises his clients to NOT TAKE field tests. Get out of the car (which you must do) and politely refuse to submit to these field tests. When the officer - which he will - tells you that he will have to arrest you if you don’t take them and that if you pass them he won’t arrest you, remember: he has already planned to arrest you. You are NOT going to pass the tests. Why give him MORE bogus evidence that you will have to defend later?





Beginning in 1975, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sponsored research that led to the development of standardized methods for police officers to use when evaluating motorists who are suspected of Driving While Impaired (DWI). In 1981, law enforcement officers from across the United States began using NHTSA's Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) battery to help make arrest decisions at and above the 0.10 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC).


The SFST Battery


The SFST battery consists of three tests administered and evaluated in a standardized manner by law enforcement officers at roadside to assist them in making an arrest decision.  Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) is an involuntary jerking of the eyes that occurs as the eyes move to the side.  When a person has consumed alcohol, nystagmus is exaggerated and may occur at lesser angles depending on the degree of impairment.  The Walk and Turn and One-Leg Stand tests require a person to listen to and follow instructions while performing simple physical movements.  Since these tests are alcohol sensitive, impaired persons have difficulty with these divided attention tasks.  During the tests officers observe and record clues which are indicators of impairment.


Observing four clues for horizontal gaze nystagmus indicated a BAC at or above 0.08 percent, and two HGN clues indicated a BAC at or above 0.04 percent. The scoring was not modified for the other two SFST tests. During routine patrols, the officers administered the SFSTs and completed a data collection form for each test they administered. The officers' final step in each case was to administer an evidential breath test to get a BAC measurement. 

Source:  NHTSA


For further information, you should read


Standardized Field Sobriety Tests



BY:  C. Jeffrey Sifers, Esq.


(Adobe PDF file)


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One Leg Stand

Walk and Turn