Sheridan & Dulas, P.A. Attorneys at law
Call For A Free Consultation 651-968-1249

Field sobriety tests: Are false positives possible?

Imagine someone being pulled over by a police officer late at night after a long work shift. If the cop believes, for whatever reason, that this person has been consuming alcohol, field sobriety tests could be administered. These roadside exams are designed to measure coordination and balance, both of which are affected by intoxication. However, the reality is that a person who is exhausted after a long work shift could fail the tests without having consumed a drop of alcohol.

According to a legal observer, field sobriety tests are not objective. In fact, the results are completely up to a police officer's interpretation, which could erroneously cause a person to be suspected of drunk driving.

Generally speaking, field sobriety tests consist of three different examinations. In order to better understand how a sober person could fail a field test, it might be best to gain insight into the standard tests, which are as follows:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus: This test is supposed to detect involuntary jerking of the eye, which is associated with intoxication.
  • Walk and turn: One thing officers are looking for with this test is the ability to follow directions.
  • One-leg stand: In addition to following directions, this exam is intended to test coordination.

Although failing these tests is indeed correlated with intoxication, a number of circumstances -- such as medical conditions or fatigue -- could greatly impact a person's ability to pass a test. If a cop misinterprets a situation, a person could be accused of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Because these tests are subject to interpretation and the unique circumstances behind every traffic stop, it might be important for those who are accused of DUI to determine their legal rights. Failure to do so could result in an unfair conviction.

Source: WVIR News, "Passing a Field Sobriety Test Difficult - Drunk or Sober," Nov. 13, 2013

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Take Action To Protect Your Future. Contact Us For A Free Consultation

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

1380 Corporate Center Curve

1380 Corporate Center Curve Suite 320
Eagan, MN 55121

Phone: 651-968-1249
Fax: 651-686-7870
Eagan Law Office Map