Flawed field sobriety tests harm innocent drivers

Field sobriety tests are one type of assessment that law enforcement officers use to evaluate the sobriety of drivers that they suspect may be intoxicated. These tests involve several coordination and balance-based physical tests that may be more difficult for drivers who have alcohol in their systems. In Texas and throughout the United States, field sobriety tests are regular parts of drunk driving stops.

However, not all field sobriety tests yield accurate results. When field sobriety tests are improperly administered or evaluated, innocent drivers may be wrongly accused of drunk driving. Any driver who suspects that faulty field sobriety testing contributed to their drunk driving arrest should consult a DUI/DWI defense attorney.

Examples of field sobriety tests

Field sobriety tests can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Some of the more common assessments that readers may face include:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus: A driver looks to one side as law enforcement officers observe rapid and irregular movement in the driver’s eyes.
  • Single leg stand: A driver stands on one foot with the other foot raised and holds their balance.
  • Walk and turn: A driver walks heel to toe on a straight path and returns without losing their footing.

The purpose of field sobriety testing is to identify physical signs of intoxication in suspected drunk drivers.

How field sobriety tests can go wrong

There are many ways that problems can happen during the administration of field sobriety tests. Law enforcement officers may improperly administer them or may wrongly interpret the results that they witness. Officers may fail to take into account the physical limitations of a driver, or the mental condition of the individual they choose to assess. Even factors like road and weather conditions may impact the results of a field sobriety test.

Evidence of intoxication from field sobriety testing may seem tough to beat. With the help of a trusted DUI/DWI attorney, an individual can feel confident that they have a knowledgeable advocate looking out for their rights and interests.