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Traffic Law

Missouri DWI/DUI/BAC Field Sobriety Testing Introduction

In Missouri, officers are trained to follow the Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) procedure approved by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) is a battery of three tests designed and intended to be administered and evaluated in a standardized manner to obtain validated indicators of impairment and establish probable cause for arrest. The tests were developed as a result of research sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and conducted by the Southern California Research Institute.

There are three (3) field sobriety tests that make up the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) battery:

# The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test;
# The Walk-and-Turn (WAT) Test; and
# The One-Leg-Stand Test.

A formal program of training was developed and is available through NHTSA to help law enforcement officers become more skillful at detecting DWI suspects, describing the behavior of these suspects, and presenting effective testimony in court. Formal administration and accreditation of the program is provided through the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).

As such, the NHTSA SFST Student Training Manual, “DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing” is the universally accepted authoritative source for the standards and proper procedures of for field sobriety testing.

The NHTSA SFST Manual is the only publication that details the accepted procedure in Missouri for field sobriety testing and a must-have for every Missouri DWI defense lawyer.