Sobriety tests are used by law enforcement officers to determine whether a driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol. These tests are designed to measure a person’s ability to perform physical or mental tasks, and can be used as evidence in criminal cases under certain circumstances.
Sobriety tests are not always accurate or reliable, and there are several reasons why they can be invalid.
1. Flawed testing methods
One reason that sobriety tests can be invalid is because of flaws in the testing methods used. Some sobriety tests are inherently subjective because they rely on the officer’s observation and judgment. Officers may misinterpret the results of the tests or make errors in recording the results. In some cases, officers may have biases or preconceived notions about a driver’s sobriety, which can affect their judgment and interpretation of the test results.
2. Medical conditions or disabilities
Certain medical conditions or disabilities can affect a person’s ability to perform sobriety tests accurately. For example, someone with a physical disability may not be able to balance properly during the field sobriety test. Officers should pay close attention to a driver’s abilities before they try to perform a sobriety test because limitations should be considered during the interpretation of the test if the test is performed at all.
3. External factors
External factors, such as weather conditions or the presence of distractions, can also affect the accuracy of sobriety tests. For example, a field sobriety test may be compromised if it is conducted on an uneven or slippery surface, or if there are distracting noises or lights nearby. It’s unrealistic to think that a driver could do the walk-and-turn or one-leg stand on the roadside if the pavement is uneven. Many factors, including passing headlights, may impact the horizontal gaze nystagmus.
Sobriety tests can be an important tool in determining whether a driver is too impaired to drive, but they are not always accurate or reliable. Various factors can lead to incorrect test results, so you should have a seasoned legal professional on your side who can help you to determine how to address these points as part of a comprehensive defense strategy.