5 Reasons You Can Fail a Field Sobriety Test that Have Nothing to Do With Being Drunk


5 Reasons You Can Fail a Field Sobriety Test that Have Nothing to Do With Being Drunk

If you believe a field sobriety test is an objective, clear way to determine if someone is drunk or sober, you’re not alone. The media has done a good job of working to convince everyone that only the most obviously drunk drivers would ever fail this test.

In reality, this test is difficult to pass even if you’re stone cold sober.

1. Chronic physical conditions.

Bad back? Bad knees? A great deal of the field sobriety test involves balance challenges such as standing on one leg, that a lot of people simply cannot physically pull off.

If you’re being treated for either condition, or for any other condition that would make a balance challenge hard, those medical records may be used to challenge the validity of your test.

See also: 5 Crucial Facts if You Are Pulled Over for a First DWI.

2. Exhaustion.

Exhaustion is a major reason why people give false positives on the field sobriety test.

Driving while exhausted isn’t exactly something to encourage. It’s very dangerous. But it’s also a fact of life for law-abiding citizens with demanding jobs, long commutes, and busy schedules.

3. Nerves.

Research shows the physiological effects of fear can hamper both physical and mental processing. Whether it leaves you weak in the knees or too dazed to hear all the officer’s instructions, it’s more than conceivable that being afraid of your arrest could, in turn, lead to your arrest!

Most people are afraid when they’re stopped by a cop and told to step out of their vehicles. Total strangers now have the power to create a major life disruption, to take your freedom, to embarrass you publically, and to alter your future. It’s a recipe for fight or flight response and all it entails.

See also: 4 Tips for Dealing with the Police When You Are Pulled Over.

4. The conditions for the test were wrong.

The test is only supposed to be performed under specific safe conditions: on a flat, dry, non-slippery surface.

But officers rarely pay attention to this guideline. They argue “ideal” conditions almost never exist, and if they were held to that standard they wouldn’t be able to perform field sobriety tests at all.

So it’s not all that uncommon to see officers performing tests when it’s raining, tests when the pavement is a mess of cracks and potential trip hazards, or tests under other conditions which are less than ideal. A solid defense strategy will note these issues and bring them to the court’s attention.

See also: 4 Times an Officer Can Pull You Over for a New York DWI.

5. The officer administered the test incorrectly.

The test is quite complicated, and officers get it wrong quite often.

For example, the test comes with a ton of instructions. If the officer fails to give an instruction and then penalizes you for failing to follow it the results of that test cannot hold water. You just need an attorney who knows how to challenge the officer’s performance in this regard.

See also: A DWI Lawyer Answers, “Have You Been Drinking?”

Let us make the case for you.

Failing a field sobriety test gives the cops grounds for an arrest, which means the prevalence of false positives is a huge concern. Some defendants are convicted on the basis of this test alone, rather than on any BAC testing (which is also problematic) or other evidence which would prove drunk driving.

You need a good DUI lawyer, someone who can help make the case that the test was invalid on one or more of these grounds. And you need someone who is here to help you, not to judge you. If you’re in trouble, don’t delay. Call Scott Russell Law today.

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