You are pulled over and asked to perform a field sobriety test. You fail. But…wait! You really haven’t been drinking. Is it possible to fail a field sobriety test when you are perfectly sober? You bet it is.

Field sobriety tests are unreliable. It is that simple. Yet law enforcement agencies around the country continue to use them to aid in the determination if someone is driving under the influence. Police use the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the one-leg stand, and the walk-and-turn test to help decide if someone is impaired. There are other tests utilized as well, but these are the three that are most common.

These tests are meant to exhibit your coordination, motor skills, and balance after you have consumed alcohol. While they do test coordination, there are any number of reasons why a sober person could fail one or all of them.

Nerves. When you see a police car, does your heart race a little bit faster? Imagine the stress and anxiety of being not only pulled over, but asked to perform these tests on the side of the road. The anxiety you feel can make it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand.

Inner ear problems. Ear problems and other health ailments can have an effect on your ability to maintain proper balance. Try explaining to a police officer that your earache has caused you to fail a field sobriety test.

Age and weight. Older persons and those carrying excess weight may find it difficult to perform field sobriety tests in such a way that they are considered to have passed them. Knee and lower back pain may make it difficult to perform the one-leg stand for example.

Exhaustion. While it is not illegal to drive when you are overly tired, it can be dangerous to do so. Your judgment is impaired and your reaction time is slower. You state of exhaustion could also affect how well you perform a field sobriety test.

Officer interpretation. There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to a field sobriety test. Whether you pass or not can be based upon the officer’s interpretation of your performance. This is one of the main reasons why these tests are considered to be so flawed.

If you have been arrested for DUI, whether or not you have participated in field sobriety tests, we are here for you. Contact our offices immediately so that we may begin representing you today.

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  • Category: DUI