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Proven Criminal Defense In Upstate New York

Factors that impact the accuracy of sobriety tests

On Behalf of | Jul 23, 2020 | Firm News |

When you hear the word test, the words pass or fail might also come to mind. But when it comes to demonstrating whether you’ve been driving under the influence of alcohol or not, the results aren’t always so straightforward.

There are errors a police officer may make and conditions beyond your control that can negatively affect your performance of field sobriety tests. But since refusing a test may result in more precise ways to measure the amount of alcohol running through your bloodstream, you may want opt for partaking in a all sobriety tests that you are presented with at a DWI stop.

Standard doesn’t always mean accurate

A police officer might ask you to walk in a straight line, hold one foot up or follow their pen with your eyes. While these are all part of a standardized field sobriety test (SFST) used across the country, even police officers who receive training to administer these tests may leave out important instructions. For example, an officer might not specify that one-leg stand is 30 seconds long. As a result, the suspect might naturally lose balance and seem impaired after standing on one foot for much longer than 30 seconds. In fact, there is research that shows that no portion of the SFST is 100% accurate.

Anyone can fail sobriety tests

From sheer nerves to an anxiety disorder, being on the receiving end of a traffic stop can you feel pressured for any number of reasons. Even if you are sober, you might struggle with digging your license out of your wallet because all the possible outcomes of the traffic stop may be running through your mind. Therefore, the pressure that sets in from the moment you pull your car over may show up as you try to perform sobriety tests. And the next thing you know, an officer mistakes your nervous fidgeting for a sign of impairment.

Maybe you aren’t nervous at all, but you find it impossible to do each test on the side of a busy highway. You might struggle to focus on trying to walk in a straight line while counting your steps when cars are zooming past.

Criminal defense attorneys understand that proving sobriety though a series of tests isn’t always foolproof. Which is why there are legal experts that can help defend you against the errors surrounding your arrest.