Field Sobriety Tests

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What Are Field Sobriety Tests?

When someone is stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, the officer will most likely ask you to perform several field sobriety tests to determine whether alcohol has impaired your ability to drive. Some common field sobriety tests are:

Are Field Sobriety Tests Reliable?

These tests are a tool to help the officer determine whether or not there is cause to arrest a driver, and therefore they are extremely subjective. Often times, these tests are not required and will very rarely help a driver’s case. Furthermore, if a driver has a physical condition affecting his ability to perform these tests, such as poor equilibrium, bad back, or a difficulty walking, it will affect the officer’s ability to make an accurate determination. If a driver suffers from one of these conditions and is going to perform field sobriety tests, they should inform the officer of the issues before taking the tests.

Once arrested for a DUI, the defendant should try to challenge the validity of the tests in court. It is important to remember that police routinely videotape stops, so it is likely that the field sobriety test will also be on tape.

Furthermore, several field sobriety tests are extremely inaccurate. For instance, the Alcohol / Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test is considered so unreliable and its results are usually excluded from evidence.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you are arrested for drunk driving (DUI or DWI), you should speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses and what you can expect as your case moves through the criminal justice system.

If you are a victim of a drunk driving accident, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer immediately to learn how the law may help you be made whole again after your injuries.

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Last Modified: 04-14-2014 03:15 PM PDT

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