PLEASE NOTE: To protect your safety in response to the threats of COVID-19, we are offering our clients the ability to meet with us, via telephone or through video conferencing. Please call our office to discuss your options.
Smith & Gaynor, LLC
For excellent legal representation


If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI or DWI in New Jersey, you might be asked to undergo a field sobriety test. These tests are not legally required, and a separate ticket cannot be issued for your refusal. State law does, however, require a breath test, and refusing to comply results in an additional charge against you.

While the types of roadside sobriety tests vary, three basic tests have been scientifically validated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN). HGN is an involuntary eye movement that occurs naturally when the eyes look to one side. When a person is under the influence of alcohol, his or her nystagmus may be exaggerated. The suspect might also have a difficult time tracking a moving object with his or her eyes. New Jersey has recently classified this test as "non-scientific," and its results cannot be used against a suspect in court.
  • Walk-and-turn. This is a "divided attention" test that requires the suspect to listen to verbal instructions while simultaneously performing basic physical movements - in this case, taking several heel-to-toe steps before turning and walking back in the same direction. NHTSA research has found that around 79 percent of suspects who exhibit more than two indicators of intoxication in this test will have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher.
  • One-leg stand. This "divided attention" test requires the suspect to stand on one foot while counting aloud. Signs of impairment include swaying, hopping or using arms to balance and putting the foot down. Around 83 percent of suspects exhibiting two or more indicators in this test have a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher.

If you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI in New Jersey, it's important to remember that a field sobriety test is not legally required and that it may be possible to challenge its validity in court. Consult a lawyer for guidance.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us for A Response

Have A Question

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Smith & Gaynor, LLC
60 Washington Street, Suite 302
Morristown, NJ 07960

Phone: 973-532-2661
Fax: 973-292-9168
Morristown Law Office Map