Rhomberg Balance Test in a California DUI

A number of years ago, a Dr. Rhomberg designed a test that allows one to check to see if an individual has poor balance or a loss of proprioception.  After many studies were conducted, it was noted that this test could be used in detecting driver impairment resulting from intoxication.  In 1974, the Rhomberg test was considered one of six optimal California DUI sobriety tests to be administered to suspected offenders.  This test is most often administered when a suspect is considered to be under the influence of drugs.  The Rhomberg Balance test was accepted by NHTSA because of its unique divided attention qualities.

In administering the Rhomberg Balance test, a California DUI suspect is asked to stand with his or her feet together, head tilted slightly backward, and eyes closed for approximately 30 seconds.  When the officer has estimated that 30 seconds have passed, the officer will ask the suspect to  tilt his or her head forward, open his or her eyes, and say, “stop.”  The  California Drunk Driving arresting officer then asks the suspect how much time the suspect feels has passed.  What the officer will look for is the suspect’s ability to follow instructions, whether or not the suspect sways and, if so, in which direction, eyelid or leg tremors, muscle tone, the suspect’s answer to how long the test took, and any statements or unusual sounds made by the suspect during the performance of the test.  The interpretation of these results is based on the fact that while some drugs tend to speed up an individual’s internal body clock, other drugs may slow down the body’s internal clock.  This means that if the suspect opens his or her eyes after only 10 or 15 seconds and he or she feels that it has been a longer time, then they most likely are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Again, this test is highly subjective and an experienced  California DUI attorney can often argue the results favorably for clients.