Field sobriety tests can indicate intoxication in sober drivers
When you are pulled over for the suspicion of drunk driving, you might be asked to complete a field sobriety test. If you aren’t intoxicated, taking the test might seem like a no-brainer. That isn’t the case.
In at least one-third of field sobriety tests performed on sober individuals, the test indicated the person was intoxicated. That result could mean that you are arrested and charged for DUI or DWI even if you are sober. It wouldn’t be until a blood alcohol concentration test came back that you would be able to prove your sobriety.
The issue here is that the arrest information will likely remain on your criminal history even though no conviction was made in the case. If you are asked to take a field sobriety test, you should make sure that it is truly in your best interest to take it.
The three tests in the field sobriety test are all subjective. The results are based on the officer’s interpretation of your actions. It is possible that one officer will interpret what you do in a different manner from another officer.
Even if the officer is interpreting the results appropriately, other conditions can lead to the issues you have taking the test. A sober person with a condition that makes balancing difficult would likely fail the one-leg stand. This could also be the case if the road conditions aren’t perfect.
When it comes to determining the intoxication of drivers, officers have alternative methods they can use. The field sobriety tests are completely optional. If you are sober, you could opt to decline this test and take a breath test instead. You also have the right to decline to take a breath test or other chemical tests; however, doing so isn’t without penalties because of implied consent laws.
When you are facing criminal charges for drunk driving, you have the right to fight those charges. Learn about how you can do this based on the factors present in your case.
Source: Alcohol Problems and Solutions, “Failed Field Sobriety Test Happens to Sober Drivers Often,” accessed Sep. 12, 2016