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Field Sobriety Tests Archives

Field sobriety tests for marijuana impairment aren't here yet

As marijuana is increasingly legalized for medicinal and recreational use around the country, law enforcement agencies are struggling to find methods to show that a person has been driving under the influence of the drug.

What happens if you decline to submit to field sobriety tests?

When most people are pulled over by a law enforcement officer for suspicion of DUI, their impulse is to submit to any field sobriety tests and preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test, such as a Breathalyzer, that officers ask them to take.

What if you're physically unable to perform field sobriety tests?

When police officers pull over a driver whom they suspect of driving under the influence, they generally administer a few field sobriety tests, in addition to having the driver blow into a Breathalyzer or similar device.

What is a Passive Alcohol Sensor?

If you're one of the many Baltimore residents who drives into Northern Virginia regularly or even occasionally for business or other reasons, it's important to know about a tool that Fairfax County police have to help determine whether a driver has been drinking. You may not even know that they're using it.

Proving drugged driving is still difficult, despite advances

As opioid use in this country has reached epidemic status, the number of drivers on the road who are under the influence of these and/or other types of drugs has become an increasing concern for law enforcement and prosecutors here in Maryland and throughout the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a quarter of drivers have some type of drug in their system, including illegal drugs as well as legally-obtained prescription medication.

Data shows field sobriety tests are less than 70 percent accurate

While it's understandable that a field sobriety test would be difficult for someone who is intoxicated to pass, it's just as easy for someone who has not even had a sip of alcohol to fail one as well. In case you're wondering why it's so easy to not pass it, it's because it's not all that uncommon for those that are plagued with nervousness, poor coordination or vertigo to perform poorly as well.

The impact of drugs on field sobriety test performance

Police who suspect drivers of being under the influence generally ask them to perform multiple sobriety tests. With powerful painkillers and other prescription medications so easy to obtain, it's possible to "pass" a breathalyzer test with flying colors and badly fail other field sobriety tests. The recent DUI arrest of golf legend Tiger Woods highlights that.

Why is your horizontal gaze studied prior to a DUI arrest?

When police pull over a person for suspicion of drunk driving, they generally perform a series of field sobriety tests. One of these looks at horizontal gaze nystagmus. HGN is an involuntary eye motion that occurs when someone's eye looks to the side.