A field sobriety test can lead to drunk driving charges which can land the accused driver with jail time, fines and a loss of their license. For that reason, accused drivers need to know how they may be able to challenge
There are several different options to consider when challenging a field sobriety test including:
- The field sobriety test was flawed: There are three types of field sobriety tests including the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk and turn test and the one-leg stand test. Some studies have shown that even when field sobriety tests are performed properly, they are only 81% to 91% accurate at determining intoxication which may be a basis on which to challenge them.
- The police officer did not perform the test correctly: Guidelines for how to properly administer field sobriety tests are set by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If the police officer failed to properly execute the field sobriety test, the results may be questionable.
- The police officer failed to account for the driver’s physical or mental medical condition: There are several medical conditions that can impact the outcome of a field sobriety test, including an inner ear infection, a neurological injury or skeletal or movement disorders, that should be taken into account.
The police officer administering the field sobriety test should also ensure that the accused driver understands the field sobriety test and what is being asked of them; the police officer should demonstrate the test if needed. The police officer should also ensure the accused driver understands what is being asked of them if there are any language barriers. A strong criminal defense strategy for a DUI should take these considerations into account when challenging a field sobriety test.