Rhomberg Balance Test

New Jersey police typically administer field sobriety tests such as the Rhomberg balance test during a NJ drunk driving investigations. However, this particular exercise shouldn’t even be called a field test, because the driver is doomed to fail.

The sole purpose of field sobriety tests is to create probable cause to make an arrest, and generate evidence to support a drunk driving court case. However, the New Jersey DWI lawyers at Levow DWI Law can aggressively challenge the results of a Rhomberg balance test as part of a strategic defense to driving under the influence charges.

The officer will first instruct the driver to stand with his or her feet together, head tilted back, and eyes closed. The driver will then be instructed to keep his or her head tipped back while estimating the passage of 30 seconds, then tilt the head forward, open his or her eyes, and say “stop.”

Drivers almost always fail the Rhomberg balance test because it’s so difficult to correctly gauge the passage of time. If the driver overestimates the passage of 30 seconds, the officer will conclude that the driver was impaired by alcohol. If the driver underestimates the passage of 30 seconds by counting too quickly, the officer may conclude that the driver has been using stimulants.

In addition to evaluating the driver’s ability to gauge the passage of time, the officer is watching for the driver’s ability to follow directions, as well as swaying, muscle tightening, and tremors. The officer also will note any statements made by the driver.

It’s not hard to see how a motorist could fail the Rhomberg balance test – the officer is looking at his or her watch, while the motorist must stand next to a busy street or highway with his or her eyes shut, trying to estimate the passage of 30 seconds.

The Rhomberg balance test is so unreliable an indicator of the physical and mental impairment caused by alcohol intoxication that it isn’t even standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Because the Rhomberg balance test isn’t standardized by the NHTSA, it carries less weight in court than a standardized test.

The bottom line is that field sobriety tests can be challenged as part of an effective NJ DWI / DUI defense. An experienced New Jersey drunk driving defense attorney at Levow DWI Law can aggressively cross-examine the arresting officer about the driver’s field sobriety test performance and try to create reasonable doubt in the motorist’s guilt.

Because Evan Levow and the New Jersey DWI attorneys at Levow DWI Law have all been trained and qualified in the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they utilize that knowledge to analyze the client’s particular testing, and determine ways to demonstrate that the testing is unreliable. Evan Levow was qualified as an Instructor in the testing by NHTSA and the International Association of Chiefs of Police in 2004.

Please call us to discuss any field sobriety testing issue, as well as any New Jersey DWI / DUI issue. Call Levow DWI Law at 877-593-1717 for a free consultation..