One Leg Stand Test

One Leg Stand Test

One Leg Stand Test

The One Leg Stand is intended to measure the balance and coordination of the DUI suspect, as well as his or her ability to follow and remember instructions. The One Leg Stand exercise is a divided attention “test” consisting of two parts,

One Leg Stand Test

  1. Instructions stage, and,
  2. Balance and counting stage.

Instruction Stage

During the instruction stage the officer is supposed to tell the DUI suspect to stand with their feet together, keep their arms at their sides, and listen to the instructions.  (2013 NHTSA Participant Guide).  The officer’s NHTSA training also includes the officer demonstrating the maneuver for the DUI suspect before giving the actual “test”.

Balance and Counting Stage

In the balance and counting stage the officer is trained to advise the DUI suspect to raise one foot, either foot, with the raised foot approximately six inches off the ground, with both legs straight and the raise foot parallel to the ground.  While looking at the elevated foot, count out loud in the following manner: “one thousand one”, “one thousand two”, “one thousand three” until told to stop.  This divides the subject’s attention between balancing (standing on one foot) and small muscle control (counting out loud).  (2013 NHTSA Participant Guide).

The one leg stand is to be administered and interpreted in a standardized manner.  Officers are trained to look for four (4) specific clues of intoxication during this “test”:

  • Sways while balancing;
  • Uses arms to balance;
  • Hopping; and,
  • Puts foot down.

Common Mistakes of Police:

  • Failure to demonstrate the maneuver to the driver;
  • Failure to verify that the driver comprehends the instructions;
  • Failure to provide the instructions as designated by their NHTSA training;
  • Failure to use the NHTSA point assessment method for scoring.

The performance of the DUI suspect on these “tests” is not intended to be open to the officer’s opinion; instead officers are trained to determine the suspect’s performance based on the number of total of accumulated points.  For this “test” there are five “clues” of intoxication each of which can be assessed one point.  The suspect will receive one point each for the following:

  • Sways while balancing;
  • Uses arms to balance;
  • Hopping;
  • Puts foot down; or,
  • Cannot do the test at all.


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