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Field sobriety tests often don’t work

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2020 | Criminal Defense

When the police pull over a driver that they suspect may be under the influence, their next move is often to put the driver through field sobriety tests. While the movies often recount things like saying the alphabet backward or other outlandish activities, the truth is that there are three main tests in common use: The horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk-and-turn test and the one-legged standing test

What is interesting to note is that these tests aren’t really that accurate. A lot of sober people fail them. When the authorities started using them, the accuracy rate was a dismal 47%. They eventually got that up to 82%, which is still a far cry from 100% but is notably better. However, they can only get it that high if officers use all three of the different tests at the same time. 

For instance, maybe you got a concussion playing sports a week ago, and your balance has been off ever since. They ask you to do the one-leg stand test. You fail it because you can’t keep your balance on one leg, but it’s not because you’ve been drinking. 

Or, maybe it’s dark and rainy when you get pulled over. You try to do the walk-and-turn test, but you slip in a puddle and fail the test. Again, drinking had nothing to do with it. The weather is what caused you to fail. 

In situations like this, you could find yourself facing serious allegations and charges without any reason. Make sure you are well aware of the legal options you have for your defense. Don’t try to handle this kind of situation on your own.