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Field sobriety tests can be inaccurate

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2022 | Criminal Law |

The police may pull you over on suspicion of driving under the influence and ask you to perform a breath test to ascertain your sobriety.

Alternatively, they may ask you to perform a set of physical tests known as field sobriety tests.

This is what they include:

  • The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
  • The One-Leg Stand Test
  • The Walk and Turn Test

On the face of it, they sound practical, but they can be inaccurate and lead to wrong conclusions. Some of the reasons that could affect the accuracy of field sobriety tests are discussed below.

Existing conditions

You may have a condition that affects your eyesight or ability to maintain balance. As a result, you will likely perform poorly in a field sobriety test leading to inaccurate conclusions about your sobriety.

Improper administration of the test

Only trained personnel can administer field sobriety tests according to the prescribed methods to produce valid results. If it is not the case, they may lead to wrong results.

Other external factors

It could be your first ever traffic stop, and you may have been nervous. Unfortunately, your anxiety could have gotten the better of you, making you fail the sobriety tests.

What it means for your case

If there were mistakes during the field sobriety test or glaring inaccuracies and the police still used that as grounds to detain you, that may be an unlawful arrest. Further, if they obtained evidence based on wrong field sobriety test results, you may file a motion to have it suppressed.

Given that the prosecution has to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, it may not be easy if a key part of the evidence against you becomes inadmissible in court. Therefore, you need to know and protect your legal rights right from the moment you are pulled over.