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Are field sobriety tests in South Carolina always airtight?

Would you believe that it is possible to beat drunk driving allegations? The fact is that roadside tests are not always entirely reliable or trustworthy. Police officers may not administer them correctly, or the materials with which they examine your sobriety in South Carolina may be faulty. Officers may also over-exaggerate a defendant's level of intoxication, a situation that can be dismantled by a skillful attorney. An arrest for drunk driving -- even with damning evidence such as a horizontal gaze test -- does not mean that you are automatically considered guilty.

What exactly is meant by the term of "field sobriety tests?" A field sobriety test often consists of physical examinations that are intended to determine someone's level of intoxication. The problem is that intoxication is not specifically defined in many state statutes, except when it comes to blood alcohol content. Intoxication is often conceptualized as failing to have full control over someone's mental and physical faculties. However, a field sobriety test does not always evaluate the specific elements of function that determine whether someone is actually "sober" enough to operate a vehicle -- especially if the tests are not properly administered.

What elements can contaminate a field sobriety test? Drivers should know that a variety of environmental factors can affect the way in which a test is administered -- and the ways in which a driver performs. For example, what happens if the testing area has a severe slope that causes the driver to stumble? What if the driver is elderly and lacks motor function? Drivers are often easily confused because officers do not spend time describing the specific tasks required for a field sobriety test.

The truth: Field sobriety tests can be poorly administered and falsely vilify defendants who are entirely innocent. If you have been victimized by these unfair traffic stops, you deserve to be represented in a court of law. No one should have to suffer because of a traffic cop's misinterpretation of the rules associated with intoxicated driving assessments.

Source: James Publishing, "Attacking Field Sobriety Tests in a DUI Trial," Donald J. Bartell, accessed Sep. 17, 2015

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