Perhaps you are driving home from work at the end of the night when a police officer pulls you over. The officer explains that they noticed you driving erratically and suspect you have been drinking.
You know you have not been drinking, so you agree to perform the field sobriety tests requested by the officer, expecting to pass them all easily. Instead, the officer informs you that you have failed the tests and charge you with a DUI.
What are field sobriety tests?
When a police officer has reasonable suspicion that you have been driving under the influence, they may request that you get out of your vehicle to perform a series of physical tests. These tests measure a person’s balance, concentration, coordination and ability to follow simple directions. Some common tests include the walk and turn test, standing on one leg and a test where they track your gaze by having you follow an object with your eyes.
Can you fail a field sobriety test while sober?
Yes. There are many reasons a person may fail a field sobriety test without having a drop of alcohol in their system. Exhaustion or simply being nervous about the traffic stop may affect your ability to concentrate or follow directions. People with medical issues that affect their balance will have difficulty completing any of the common field sobriety tests that focus on balance.
Field sobriety tests are subject to the officer’s interpretation of what they see. The officer that conducts a field sobriety test is looking to gather evidence of intoxication and will interpret the results to support their case. If you failed a field sobriety test, consult a lawyer to see what defenses may be available to you.