What is the One Leg Stand Test?

The one leg stand test (OLS) is a tool police use to decide if a driver is DWI. It has two stages. They are the instruction stage and the balance and counting stage. In particular, the test requires the driver to stand on one leg for 30 seconds while raising the other leg 6 inches off the ground. The driver must also listen to the officer and follow instructions during the test.

These two stages are the keys to the test. This is because police look for four clues of DWI during these two stages. And these clues are based on the driver’s ability to follow directions while keeping his balance. As a result, if police see two or more clues of DWI, then the driver will fail the test.

This post will show you how the OLS test works. This includes going over the instructions and steps police and drivers must following during the test. Finally, we will go over the four clues police look for and how they decide if the driver passed or failed the test.

What are the one leg stand instructions and steps?

Time needed: 2 minutes.

According to NHTSA, police must follow these steps when they give a driver the one-leg-stand test:

  1. Instruction Stage for One-Leg-Stand Test.

    The officer must give the driver following instructions. Also, the officer will grade the driver on his ability to follow the directions below:

    “Please stand with your feet together and your arms down at the sides, like this.” (Demonstrate.)

    “Do not start to perform the test until I tell you to do so.”

    “Do you understand the instructions so far?”

  2. Officer must show the driver how to do the one-leg-stand test.

    The officer shows the driver how to do the test and gives the following instructions:

    “When I tell you to start, raise one leg, either leg, with the foot approximately six inches off the ground, keeping your raised foot parallel to the ground.” “You must keep both legs straight, arms at your side.”

    “While holding that position, count out loud in the following manner: ‘one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three.'”

    “Keep your arms at your sides at all times and keep watching the raised foot.” “Do you understand?”

    “Go ahead and perform the test.” (Officer should always time the 30 seconds. The officer should stop the test after 30 seconds.)

  3. Officer counts the clues.

    If the officer counts two or more clues during the test, then the driver “failed” the test.

What are the OLS clues?

The four OLS clues police look for are:

  1. Swaying while balancing. The driver moves side-to-side or in a back and forth motion during the test.
  2. Using arms for balance. The driver moves his arms six (6) or more inches from the side of the body in order to keep his balance.
  3. Hopping. The driver hops during the test to keep his balance.
  4. Putting the foot down. The driver puts his foot down one or more times during the 30-second count.

DWI Defense.

Like the walk-and-turn test, the OLS test requires the driver to do two things. He must follow instructions and keep his balance. These are the two tasks police score during the the test.

But surprisingly, police do not tell the driver how they score the test. This catches many drivers off guard when police arrest them for DWI. This is because from the driver’s perspective, he or she did fine. They followed directions and kept their balance during the test.

But from the police officer’s perspective, the driver failed because he did not follow directions, keep his balance, or both. In other words, in the officer’s opinion, the driver was drunk. But this raises another important question. Is the officer’s opinion right?

Consequently, the DWI-arrest video and breath or blood test results plays a big role in DWI cases. The video will show the jury what the driver did right and what he did wrong during the test. And a good DWI lawyer can use the video to show the jury that the motorist did the OLS and walk-and-turn tests like a normal and sober person.

On top of that, a solid DWI video can also help you push back in many breath and blood test cases. Especially where the tests results are in the .08, .09, .10, .11, or .12 range. In these types of cases, the video of the OLS and walk-and-turn tests may raise questions about how accurate the breath or blood tests are. Most important of all, these questions are the key to creating a reasonable doubt in your DWI trial.

San Antonio DWI Attorney Genaro R. Cortez.

Questions about your DWI case in San Antonio? Call 210-733-7575 for a free case consult.