How Accurate Are Field Sobriety Tests?

If you’re facing a drunk driving charge, you’re probably recounting and reviewing the events surrounding your arrest. The police may have asked you to take field sobriety tests and a breath or blood test. Is there any chance that they got bad results from a test, and if they did, what does that mean for you?

How Accurate Are Field Sobriety Tests?

Improperly Administered Tests

The biggest problem that comes with field sobriety tests is how they are administered. Everyone has seen them on TV and in movies, and it seems pretty straightforward, but it is much more complicated than you normally would assume. For instance, how many of us can recite the alphabet backward when we are sober? If we were to use that as the basis, some people would never be safe to drive!

Other tests are a little more accurate, but the police officer needs to know how to administer the test and how to read the signs properly. For example, if the police ask you to take the walk and turn test, they’re supposed to look for certain indicators of intoxication. They’re supposed to look to see if you walk heel to toe. They should look to see if you swing your arms for balance and if you’re able to walk in a straight line. If they don’t give you accurate instructions, your test results aren’t going to be accurate. In addition, if they don’t look for the right indicators, their determination of the results of your test may not be valid.

Breathalyzer Errors

In addition to needing proper training, law enforcement officers need to periodically test their breath test instruments. Whether they give you a breath test on the road, at the police station or both, they need to conduct routine tests in order to make sure that their breath test machines are in working order. Additionally, certain medications or physical conditions can create inaccurate results while testing. Blood tests are more accurate but are used less often because they require people to consent to have their blood drawn.

What Can You Do?

If you believe that you were falsely charged with a DUI, then challenging the field sobriety tests and breathalyzer is the best recourse that you have. You will need to prove that the tests were administered incorrectly or judged unfairly or that the breathalyzer results were inaccurate. The best way to do this is to make sure that you talk to an attorney who has experience in dealing with DUI charges. They can go over the field sobriety tests and help you figure out if everything was done according to procedure.

An arrest for DUI doesn’t have to stand, especially if you weren’t above the legal limit. Field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests aren’t always accurate, so don’t lose hope.


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