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Field Sobriety Tests: Romberg Balance

By Criminal Defense Attorney on June 21, 2012

A Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) will use four divided attention psychophysical tests to evaluate someone suspected of drug impairment. These tests are standardized in their administration, documentation, and interpretation. The next few blogs will examine each test in detail.

Romberg Balance

This test requires the subject to stand with the feet together, the head tilted slightly back, the eyes closed, and estimate the passage of thirty seconds. When the subject believes that the thirty seconds have passed, he or she it to tilt her head forward, open the eyes, and say “Stop”.

Administrative Procedures that the DRE will direct to the subject:

  • The subject must stand straight with the feet together and the arms down at the sides
  • The subject must maintain that position while he gives the instructions and tells the subject not to start the test until told to start
  • He will ask the subject if he or she understands
  • The DRE will instruct the subject that when they begin the test they must tilt their head back and close their eyes. He will demonstrate how the head should be tilted.
  • He will tell the subject when to start and say “keep you head tilted back with your eyes closed until you think that thirty seconds have gone by”.
  • The DRE will tell the subject to bring their head forward and say “Stop” when the subject thinks thirty seconds have passed
  • Ask the subject if they understand
  • Start the test and tell the subject to begin the test
  • Keep track of time while the subject performs the test

The DRE will be looking for the following:

  • body tremors
  • eyelid tremors
  • muscle tone
  • any unusual statements made by the subject

One of the most respected Criminal Defense Attorney’s in the North County Area, James N. Dicks, has built a successful career by helping defend the rights of thousands of clients over the last 25 years. Call our offices today for a free consultation to learn more about your case and how he can help you.

Source: A training manual for the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program

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