Fairfax County DUI

Virginia DWI One Leg Stand Test

Virginia One-Leg Stand Test

The One-Leg Stand Test is another standardized field sobriety test developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As its name implies, the One-Leg Stand Test requires you to stand on one leg while maintaining your balance. You will also be required to count by thousands (one thousand-one, one thousand-two, etc.) while you balance on one leg.

Testing Your Divided Attention

The One-Leg Stand Test is known as a “divided attention” test. That is to say, the One-Leg Stand Test requires you to divide your attention between a mental task and a physical task. Typically, if you are impaired by alcohol or other intoxicants, you will have difficulty dividing your attention between the two tasks.

As you attempt to maintain your balance while counting aloud, the police officer administering the test will watch your performance for various clues of impairment. These clues include using your arms to keep your balance, swaying to keep your balance, putting your foot down and hopping. The presence of two or more of these clues indicates impairment.

Adverse Conditions Could Affect Performance

If you’ve had to perform the One-Leg Stand Test, you probably know that the environmental conditions for this test are unfavorable. Typically, you are asked to take this test while pulled over on the side of the road while traffic continues to whiz by you. Often times, the shoulder of the road is uneven, and it may be difficult to maintain your balance while standing on both feet. Additionally, the headlights of passing cars may be shining right in your eyes as you perform the test.

The One-Leg Stand Test has been criticized as unreliable and subjectively applied. Many sober people have difficulty performing the test under ideal circumstances. Additionally, nerves can play a large factor in your performance of this test. Furthermore, the test is highly subjective. A police officer who predetermines impairment can easily administer the One-Leg Stand Test and reach a conclusion of impairment.