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TODD K. MOHINK, PA Glen Burnie & Columbia Family & Criminal Lawyer

Standardized field sobriety tests aren’t always accurate

The sight of flashing lights behind you when you are driving is a sight that almost no driver wants to see. If you have been drinking, the dread might be considerable. If you have been drinking, it is vital that you understand some of the things that might happen. One of those is that you might be asked to do a standardized field sobriety test.

The SFST includes three tests that can help law enforcement officers to determine if you are intoxicated. It is vital that these tests are administered properly by trained officers. If the tests aren’t administered properly, the result of the test might be skewered.

The three tests used in the SFST are the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn, and the one leg stand. Each of these tests have specific markers that indicate whether you are intoxicated or not.

It is important to note that the test that comprise the SFST aren’t 100 percent accurate. The HGN test is accurate for around 88 percent of suspects. The walk and turn is accurate for around 79 percent of suspects. The one leg stand is accurate in around 83 percent of cases.

Overall, the SFST is said to have an accuracy of around 91 percent when all three tests are combined. That means that around 9 percent who take the test will falsely be accused of having a blood alcohol concentration that is at or above the legal limit of .08 percent.

If you are facing a drunk driving charge and had the SFST, challenging the test might be an option for defense. Learning how to determine the suitability for your case is vital if you are considering this as a component of your defense strategy.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, “Standardized Field Sobriety Testing,” accessed Aug. 25, 2015

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