Suspected drunk driving is taken very seriously by law enforcement officers throughout New York and New Jersey. When an officer suspects that an individual may be inebriated and operating a motor vehicle, they may choose to stop them and administer field sobriety tests to assess the level of intoxication exhibited by the driver. Field sobriety tests, which will be discussed in this post, assess a driver’s ability to focus, balance, and concentrate while performing a variety of physical tasks.
Though properly executed field sobriety tests can yield some information on the state of a driver, often they are poorly executed by officers who are not properly trained to administer them. This post will discuss some of the major problems that can affect the results of field sobriety tests and how those problematic occurrences can result in wrongful arrests. When field sobriety test evidence is used against an alleged drunk driver in a DUI case, the defendant may have options for challenging their arrest based on problems that occurred during their testing. A criminal defense lawyer can advise a client on whether this form of defense strategy is useful for their case.
Possible problems with field sobriety testing
One of the biggest problems that drivers can encounter when they are asked to perform field sobriety tests can happen when law enforcement officers are not properly trained to administer the tests or assess them. When a law enforcement official does not know how to set up a field sobriety test or does not know how to interpret its results, they may allege that a driver is impaired when the driver is in fact completely sober.
Another problem that can affect field sobriety testing is the actual health of the driver. If a driver suffers from a medical condition that affects their balance or coordination, they may not be able to complete a field sobriety test due to their ailment. Other conditions, such as the levelness of the ground or the weather, can impact whether a driver can successfully pass field sobriety tests.
Field sobriety tests can be challenged in court. When they yield faulty information, they should be challenged by drivers and their dedicated criminal defense lawyers.