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How even sober people can fail field sobriety tests

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

In many DUI cases, the police further their investigation by conducting field sobriety tests. Their belief is that these tests will help them assess whether a driver is impaired by giving indications of physical and mental limitations caused by drug or alcohol use. But these tests are far from failproof, and in many instances they lead to wrongful arrests, even of people who are completely sober.

How field sobriety tests are erroneous

Field sobriety tests rely on human observation, which is faulty at best. Here are some ways that these tests can leave you looking intoxicated even when you’re not:

  • Inadequate instructions are given that leave you unsure of what you’re supposed to do.
  • The police fail to consider your medical conditions, such as those that impair your vision and your balance.
  • Inaccurate observations are made by the officer conducting the test.
  • Officers fail to take the stress of the situation into account when assessing your response to test instructions.
  • You might need to ask for clarification of complicated instructions, which officers may then use to try to show that you’re intoxicated.

Making a mistake on any field sobriety test could lead to a DUI arrest and a blood test. But if that blood test was obtained under false pretenses, then you might be able to block that evidence from being used against you. In other words, focusing on field sobriety tests in your DUI case can be pivotal to your defense.

How to attack the validity of a field sobriety test in your case

To protect your interests as fully as possible in your case, you need to aggressively defend yourself. This means figuring out how to attack field sobriety tests in a court of law. Here are some ways that you might be able to effectively do so in your case:

  • Depose the police officer who conducted the field sobriety tests to lock them into their testimony, identify errors, and find ways to attack their credibility.
  • Obtain police body cam or dashcam footage to capture how the field sobriety tests were administered and how you performed on them.
  • Review the standards that apply to the field sobriety tests that were administered to you so that you can point out any shortcomings that occurred in your case.
  • Contact any witnesses to determine if they have information that may help demonstrate that field sobriety test instructions were confusing.
  • Prepare to testify about the field sobriety tests that you experienced prior to your arrest.
  • Be ready to argue that the traffic stop that led to your field sobriety tests was illegally conducted.

The specific way that you approach your case is going to depend on the facts and the best legal arguments available to you. Therefore, if you’ve been charged with a DUI, then you need to sit down with your attorney and diligently analyze everything that led up to your arrest. You shouldn’t agree to any sort of plea deal until you’ve fully assessed your defense options given that there may be a way for you to beat the charges you’re facing.

Aggressively defend yourself in your DUI case

A DUI conviction can crash through life as you know it, negatively impacting nearly every aspect of it. As scary as that sounds, you might be able to avoid those negative consequences by building a strong criminal defense. If you want to learn more about how to challenge the prosecution’s case, then please continue to read our blog and the rest of our website.