3 ways to challenge field sobriety test results

| Dec 15, 2020 | Firm News |

When you’ve been pulled over and the police suspect you’ve been drinking, they will probably ask you to perform some field sobriety tests. You do have the right to refuse these tests. A refusal will not lead to any additional penalties. However, few people are aware of this fact, and it can be difficult to turn down an officer’s demands.

You should know that field sobriety tests are solely for the state’s benefit. The prosecution will only use the results of these tests to help strengthen their case that you were driving under the influence. However, if you agreed to the tests, you can still challenge the results in court.

1. The test wasn’t accurate

There are three standard field sobriety tests that most officers will perform. They are:

  • Walk and turn
  • One-leg stand
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test

An officer may ask you to perform only one or all three of these tests. Some officers may also employ additional tests, although the scientific validity of anything other than the above tests is questionable. That said, the above tests are also flawed. Even if they are administered correctly, they are still far from being 100% accurate. Whether you “pass” or “fail” a test often comes down to the officer’s opinion. You can make a strong argument that these tests are flawed and inaccurate.

2. The officer administered the test incorrectly

Officers need to follow the same procedure whenever administering these tests. Standard procedures help ensure accuracy. You can apply the same argument to non-standard sobriety tests.

3. You have a medical condition that affected the results

Medical conditions can easily impact the results of field sobriety tests. If you have vision issues, you may not pass the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. A neurological condition could impact the movement of your body. Inner ear problems could affect your balance.

These are not the only ways to defend against a drunk driving charge. You can attack the results of a breathalyzer test. You may even be able to challenge the reason for your traffic stop in the first place. You should discuss all of your defense options with a skilled legal professional.