What They Don't Tell You About Field Sobriety Tests

A field sobriety test consists of physical tasks that the person suspected of DUI will need to perform to prove that they are able to safely drive their vehicle. Field sobriety tests usually include making a person walk in a straight line or having them touch the tip of their finger to their nose while standing on one leg. Reciting the alphabet backwards is also another common field sobriety test.  However, the scientific value of these tests and their ability to assess a person’s sobriety are questionable at best. In this bog, we explain the flaws of field sobriety tests.

DUI symptoms can be misleading. Often, the indicators of intoxications are the same as other types of common medical conditions. For example, police often initiate a field sobriety test if the person they suspect of DUI has red or watery eyes, slurred speech, a flushed face, or unsteady posture. However, each of these symptoms can be associated with numerous medical conditions that have nothing to do with alcohol or drug consumption. Allergic reactions, fatigue, illness, and irritated eyes are just a few possible conditions than can be mistaken for DUI symptoms.

The results of field sobriety tests can also be just as unreliable as the factors used to initiate the test in the first place. Field sobriety tests can be affected by:

  • A person being nervous
  • Weather & environmental factors
  • A person’s physical fitness
  • Poor training on the part of the officer

Police often use these tests to establish their case for having a DUI suspect submit to chemical testing. However, it is important to note that you do not have to consent to a field sobriety test, you can choose to politely refuse.

Want to learn more about DUI testing or DUI cases? Contact our Clarksville team of DUI lawyers to set up a free consultation today.

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