Drennan Law Firm Drennan Law Firm Dui & Traffic Law Center
843-352-4149 Free Consultation

Standard field sobriety tests may not always be accurate

When a person imagines what it would be like to be pulled over by a police officer on suspicion of drunk driving, he or she might include field sobriety tests in the mental picture. These tests are supposed to help cops detect signs of intoxication, so it might be natural to wonder: Are they actually effective?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a set of three field exercises (known collectively as the Standardized Field Sobriety Test) were developed to pick up on clues of intoxication and impairment. Although the tests are typically the same, interpreting the results can be a subjective process.

To better understand the effectiveness of the field sobriety tests, it may be helpful to take a look at the three standard examinations:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: In this test officers will ask a suspected individual to follow an object moving from side to side. Officers look for involuntary jerking motion in the eyes, which can be a sign of intoxication. However, this can also be a natural side effect of certain prescription drugs. The NHSTSA says this test is 88 percent accurate.
  • Walk-and-Turn: Although the substance of the test is pretty self-explanatory, the purpose is to test attention division. People might not be able to complete actions and follow instructions when they are impaired by drugs or alcohol. Research from the federal agency shows that this test is effective 79 percent of the time when officers follow specific guidelines.
  • One-Leg Stand: Standing on one foot while counting aloud tests balance and, once again, an individual's ability to divide attention. When police identify certain markers, the NHTSA says this test is 83 percent accurate.

Although police officers are typically trained how to administer and interpret the standard field sobriety tests, they are not a sure-fire indicator of impairment.

If a people are pulled over at a late hour, with bright lights shining on them, it's not shocking to think that nerves could take over and produce a false positive. Not only that, but pre-existing physical limitations could make it impossible to pass these tests, even without having consumed any alcohol.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Call Drennan Law Firm — Free Initial Consultation

Speak with a Charleston criminal lawyer today who will work with you directly, one-on-one.
Please call us at 843-352-4149 or email us to schedule a meeting or for prompt legal assistance.

Email Us 24/7 For Fast Answers

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Main Office
1350 Chuck Dawley Blvd
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

Toll Free: 888-722-6179
Phone: 843-352-4149
Fax: 843-606-2971
Mt. Pleasant Law Office Map

Branch Office
Local: 843-225-2384
Toll Free: 888-722-6179