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The importance of challenging field sobriety tests when necessary

On Behalf of | Oct 31, 2019 | DUI/DWI

Field sobriety tests can commonly form the basis of drunk driving charges, making it important for accused drivers to understand what field sobriety tests are and how they can challenge them when needed. Challenging a field sobriety test performed by a police officer can be an important part of a

DUI defense.

Field sobriety tests are often the main piece of evidence that is used against an accused driver when they are facing drunk driving charges. There are three different types of field sobriety tests, including the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn test, and the one-leg stand test. Each of these tests must be properly administered according to the police officer’s training to produce reliable results. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued guidelines that should be followed when a field sobriety test is being conducted. If an officer has failed to adhere to these guidelines, then the results of the field sobriety test can be thrown into question.

In addition, it may be possible to challenge field sobriety tests based on their overall reliability. Studies have shown that even when field sobriety tests are performed correctly, they are only 81% to 91% reliable at determining intoxication of the driver. Also, it is essential for the driver’s physical and mental health conditions to be taken into account when a field sobriety test is performed for it to produce reliable results.

Drunk driving accusations and resulting criminal charges can have a dramatic impact on the life of an accused individual. A conviction on DUI charges can result in serious penalties, too. If the charges levied against an individual are based on an unreliable field sobriety test that was not properly conducted, though, then that accused individual may have a strong legal argument on which to hang their criminal defense.