Challenging a field sobriety test, Part 1

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2016 | Field Sobriety Tests

The field sobriety test is a series of exercises that police administer to people they suspect of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The tests are designed to assess the coordination of the driver and their capability to operate. But, like any other test, it is flawed and relies on humans to effectively evaluate and administer it. This post will discuss some of the ways you can potentially challenge the results from a field sobriety test.

The field sobriety is composed of three essential elements: the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the one-leg stand and the walk and turn.


The horizontal gaze test assesses the ability of your eyes to follow an object smoothly. It is a way for the officer to judge your coordination and focus. The one-leg stand examines your balance. Finally, the walk and turn is another focus and balance test.

But these tests, even when properly performed, are only 81 to 91 percent reliable in determining intoxication. Bear in mind that these numbers assume the test is correctly performed the entire time. Once the officer begins issuing confusing instructions or the ambient noise drowns out his voice, the reliability drops even further.

If you were arrested under an improperly administered field sobriety test, then you may want to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. As you can see, there are a variety of ways to attack a field sobriety test. An attorney can immediately begin negotiating with the prosecutor to ensure that your sentence is reduced or perhaps even dismissed. The last thing you need is to face these charges alone and possibly serve time based on an improper test. Don’t risk your freedom; a defense attorney can help you.


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