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Photo of Craig R. Fishman

Tried And True Attorneys Standing Up For The Injured Since 1965

Field sobriety tests can be unreliable indicators of intoxication

On Behalf of | Jul 9, 2021 | DWI/DUI Defense |

A traffic stop for suspected drunk driving can be intimidating and overwhelming for a New Jersey resident. When a driver is asked to step out of their vehicle and perform physical assessments of their coordination and balance, they may feel their nerves working against them as they attempt to focus. The tests they are asked to perform are often referred to as field sobriety tests, and these tests are not always accurate predictors of intoxication in drivers.

There are many ways that field sobriety tests fail drivers, and this post will discuss some of them. It is important that readers remember this post does not offer any legal advice or defense strategies. When drunk driving charges are lodged, affected individuals can seek counsel from their trusted local DWI/DUI defense attorneys.

What are field sobriety tests?

Field sobriety tests are roadside tests administered by law enforcement officials. They test drivers’ concentration, focus, balance, and other faculties. They can include the one-leg stand, horizontal gaze nystagmus, and walk-and-turn tests. When a driver fails to execute field sobriety tests, their inability to perform may indicate intoxication.

Why are field sobriety tests problematic?

Field sobriety tests can be bad assessments for drunkenness because they are not always administered correctly. A law enforcement official who fails to property test or assess a driver may wrongfully conclude that at driver is drunk. Insufficient training or practice may cause a wrong result in field sobriety testing.

Conditions can also impact the success of field sobriety tests. When it is windy or cold, if the tests are performed on a hill or slope, or even the health of a driver can change the results of a roadside test. It is important for conditions to be taken into account when drivers must take field sobriety tests.

There are problems with field sobriety tests, but law enforcement officials keep using them to arrest and charge drivers with drunk driving crimes. Criminal defense lawyers can support their drunk driving clients to protect their rights from wrongful convictions.