You'd be hard-pressed to find a person of legal driving age who hasn't
heard about the infamous
field sobriety tests that are used by law enforcement officers to test for signs of impaired
driving. Recognized by drivers as something to avoid at all costs, these
field sobriety tests have certainly earned themselves a bad reputation
among the general driving population. And considering the fact that law
enforcement officers have been known to make arrests based on an individual's
performance during one of these field sobriety tests, it's not hard
to see why.
What might be less well known about these types of tests is their propensity
to yield highly unreliable results. Although an arresting officer would
scarcely be ready to openly admit this to his or her suspect, these subjective
tests are not based on science and are no more reliable than anything
else. In fact, many would argue that these tests are noticeably less reliable.
Why? The answer to this question lies in the inherent flaws that have
since been identified with each one of the three common field sobriety
tests utilized by law enforcement officers throughout California: the
walk-and-turn test, the horizontal gaze nystgamus test, and the one-leg
Are Field Sobriety Tests Designed for Failure?
Unless you have some affiliation with legal or law enforcement procedures,
you would have little reason to know that each of the three field sobriety
tests have been recognized for the inaccuracies that they yield on a regular
basis. Take the horizontal gaze nystgamus test, for example. This test
has been identified as the most reliable of the three field tests, yet
it only yields 77% accurate results among those who are tested. Accordingly,
we are led to assume that approximately 1 out of 4 people will fail a
field sobriety test have failed because of the test's inaccuracies,
NOT because they are intoxicated.
It is not the tendency of an arresting officer to disclose this type of
information to a person who is currently being tested. Why would they?
Rather, officers tend to proceed with these tests, willing to believe
that they will yield accurate results despite the evidence against such
a fact. Not only that, but some law enforcement officers have even been
found guilty of administering one or more of these tests incorrectly.
For example, officers are trained to be almost motionless in their execution
of a field sobriety test, thus creating as little distraction for the
person being tested as possible. Failure to follow suit accordingly could
jeopardize the integrity of the test's results.
Since they were established, the National Transportation Board's field
sobriety tests have been connected with a number of false arrests, improper
executions, and the like. You only need to look at the multiple conditions
which carry the potential to adversely skew the outcome of one or more
of these tests to understand. For example, something as small as poor
weather conditions could affect a person's ability to walk in a straight
line without losing balance, or something as seemingly insignificant as
a person's attire could alter their ability to maneuver effectively.
Some individuals can also experience difficulty performing the physical
and mental coordination that is required by these tests due to pre-existing
conditions that have nothing to do with being intoxicated.
In the heat of the moment, when an officer is primed and ready to make
an arrest, do you think he or she is going to give their suspect a rundown
of the possible things that could alter the results of the field sobriety
test about to be performed? This could jeopardize the situation entirely.
Therefore, it is critical that individuals know ahead of time what to
expect in the event that they find themselves facing a field sobriety
test of any sort. Perhaps the number one thing that law enforcement officers
don't tell DUI suspects upfront is that drivers have the right to
decline to submit to a field sobriety test. Given the fact that these
tests have been described by some as "designed for failure,"
it might not be a bad idea to forego the test request altogether.
Accused of Drunk Driving? Contact Attorney Jacqueline Goodman Today
If you have already been arrested on drunk driving charges, it's not
too late to challenge the methods that were used to make the arrest. In
fact, with an
Orange County DUI attorney from our firm acting in your defense, you stand a very reasonable chance
of having your charges dropped or reduced.
The Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman is intimately familiar with the intricate
details connected to all matters of
DUI, especially those that involve the administration of one or more field
sobriety tests. As such, we urge you to contact our office today and align
yourself with a skillful member of our team who can argue on behalf against
the inaccurate and untrustworthy field sobriety tests that were administered
before your arrest was made.
Fill out a brief
online form to request your free case evaluation.