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3 things drivers need to know about field sobriety testing

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2024 | DUI Defense |

When a police officer pulls someone over, they may screen the driver for signs of chemical impairment. Police officers begin screening someone with questions and may then look at their physical capabilities.

When police officers suspect someone of intoxication at the wheel, they are often eager for any justification to arrest that person. As such, motorists may benefit from knowing the three facts below about field sobriety tests if they ever face a request to perform them.

Not all tests are reliable

Field sobriety tests help gauge the likelihood of chemical impairment based on someone’s physical and cognitive abilities. Although some people may try to come up with creative tests, the courts want something reliable that produces verifiable results. There are typically only three standardized tests that hold up under scrutiny in criminal court. Those tests include the one-leg stand test, the walk-and-turn test and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.

Issues other than alcohol can affect performance

Drivers sometimes begin to question their own recollections of the evening when they fail field sobriety tests. They start to wonder if they may have been more impaired than they realized. However, a variety of health conditions, ranging from neurological disorders to mental health problems, could affect someone’s performance on field sobriety tests. Motorists may need to look for a medical explanation for poor performance when responding to impaired driving charges.

Drivers can decline field sobriety tests

Drivers are often unaware of their rights and may engage in behavior that increases their risk of prosecution. Many motorists believe that implied consent laws about chemical testing apply to field sobriety tests. However, implied consent rules only apply in scenarios where officers have probable cause to arrest someone and want to perform a chemical test. Drivers theoretically have the right to decline field sobriety tests without risking penalty or immediate arrest.

Motorists accused of an impaired driving offense often need to look at the state’s case to establish a viable defense strategy. Learning about field sobriety testing and other ways the state proves drunk driving may benefit those accused of impairment at the wheel. Those facing Kentucky DUI charges can discuss their case with the Law Office of Marvin Knorr & Associates by contacting the firm online or calling them at 859-286-6121.