The Rhomberg Balance Test
If you were pulled over on suspicion of drinking and driving, it is possible that law enforcement used The Rhomberg Balance Test to examine your level of impairment. Police officers use this and similar field sobriety tests to establish probable cause to make a DUI arrest. The results from this test can also be used in court as evidence.
Validity of Rhomberg Test
Although this evaluation tool is frequently used, it is not a standardized test recognized by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). This is because the NHTSA has not found the Rhomberg Balance Test to give accurate readings of an individual's mental and physical impairment.
As a result, this test typically holds less weight in court than other, more concrete forms of evidence of driving under the influence. If you were driving under the influence and were administered the Rhomberg Balance Test, talk to one of our DUI attorneys. Simply fill out the form below to discuss your legal options and how you might be able to fight your charges.
What Does the Test Entail?
This test typically happens as follows: a driver is asked to stand with his feet together, head tilted back and eyes closed and the driver must then estimate the passage of 30 seconds, tilt his head forward and open his eyes. At this time he says "stop" to the officer.
If the driver overestimates or underestimates the amount of time it took for 30 seconds to go by, the officer may conclude that this person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In addition to evaluating a driver's ability to count to 30 in a timely manner, the officer is also observing whether or not the individual is swaying, displaying tremors or experiencing muscle tightening. Also, he is seeing how well the person follows directions and listening for any incriminating statements as well.
Controversy of Rhomberg Test
Due to the format of this test, many critics believe the driver is destined to fail. There are so many subjective factors involved that can affect the test results in an unfavorable way for the driver. Using a basic wristwatch to gauge the presence of alcohol or drugs can be an insufficient tool.
Furthermore, each wristwatch keeps time differently. So an officer who uses one type of watch might see 30 seconds pass by at a faster speed than an officer with another type of timepiece. The lack of an objective scoring system is troubling to critics as well.
The balancing act required is also a difficult task, sober or not. People with poor muscular skills due to certain medical or health conditions may be especially vulnerable to test "positive" in this test.