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Can you practice to pass a field sobriety test?

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2022 | Field Sobriety Tests

If a South Carolina police officer suspects you of impaired driving, they will likely pull you over. After they ask you a few questions, they may then request that you exit the vehicle and perform a field sobriety test.

The whole point of a field sobriety test is for an officer to gauge whether there is chemical impairment affecting someone’s driving skills. Some people will attempt to prepare ahead of time for field sobriety test by practicing.

Is it possible for you to trick a police officer during the administration of a field sobriety test? 

You can improve your function while intoxicated

One of the reasons that people think they can practice ahead of time to pass a field sobriety test is the psychological concept known as state-dependent memory. Researchers have found that if someone drinks a beer while studying for a test, drinking a beer before they perform the test means that they do better because their physical state is closer to the state they were in while preparing for the exam.

That means that someone could prepare for a field sobriety test while casually drinking at home. You can improve your memory and your sense of balance while under the influence of alcohol through repetition.

However, you won’t necessarily be able to avoid other obvious signs of impairment, like slurred speech. You also can’t control subconscious bodily reactions to alcohol, such as the involuntary twitching of eye muscles. While you might be able to do better on one or two of the field sobriety tests commonly administered during traffic stops, you will not be able to prepare for all of them.

The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is a test that you cannot manipulate

Your body has unique functions when you perform certain actions. When you move your eyes far to the side without turning your head, there is a twitch or tremor in the muscles that another person could observe.

When you are under the influence of alcohol, that twitch or tremor becomes much more obvious. There is no way for you to subdue those subconscious bodily responses and trick an officer performing the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Understanding the basics of field sobriety testing can help you avoid or defend against drunk driving charges in South Carolina.

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