Field Sobriety Tests Are More Unreliable Than You Think

18 January 2022
 Categories: Law, Blog


For many people who are charged with a DUI in criminal court, the fears surrounding field sobriety tests are real. Prosecutors may bring up field sobriety tests results as part of their evidence, but you may not realize how unreliable these tests results are. In fact, a criminal law attorney can shed more light on the unreliability of these results.

Here's what you need to know about those test results and how they can (and cannot) impact your case.

What Are Field Sobriety Tests?

Field sobriety tests are supposed to be standardized to test for balance, coordination, and the ability to follow directions. Unfortunately, the application of these tests and the understanding of their results are not always as conclusive as you may have been led to believe.

Officer Experience & Insight Makes a Difference

One way field sobriety tests are not always reliable is that the officer assessing the situation can make a difference. Officers with different levels of experience are going to see the situation differently, and this could make a huge difference in your case.

The officer's bias can also make a difference. If an officer already believes you were driving while intoxicated, then you may appear intoxicated to them no matter how well you perform. An attorney will help shed light on the officer's potential bias.

General "Passing" Results Don't Exist

When officers use the field sobriety tests, they are not comparing you to a specific baseline. They are comparing you to their own expectations. There are also no specific results for people with different abilities either, which can further complicate matters.

For example, somebody who has a leg injury may not be able to participate in all these activities as requested. Somebody with cognitive disabilities may also perform differently. They may participate to varying degrees, which can be complicated.

Consult With a Criminal Law Attorney

It is the role of a criminal law attorney to show why the evidence should be thrown out. Even if a field sobriety test brings out a specific result, you should not trust it. An attorney may be able to have it thrown out right away.

A criminal law attorney can offer a lot of assistance as you wait for your case to come to trial. Attorneys can shed light on exactly how unreliable those field sobriety tests are so you don't have to worry about their impact.

Contact a local criminal law attorney if you have a criminal case.