Three Things You Should Know About Field Sobriety Testing

1. Field Sobriety Tests Are Unreliable

Police officers often decide whether or not to arrest a person for DUI based on the results of field sobriety tests. They do not tell you that these tests have a wide margin of error. Many people would fail them even if they were stone-cold sober.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has developed three standardized tests for assessing whether someone pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving is actually under the influence of alcohol. Two of these standardized field sobriety tests assess physical coordination: the one-leg stand and the walk-and-turn test. Even these standardized tests can be unreliable when given to certain people.


2. Conditions Other Than Intoxication That Can Affect Coordination

Conditions other than intoxication can cause someone to fail these tests. You are not a proper candidate for a field sobriety test if you:

  • Have physical problems such as knee, back and ankle problems
  • Are 50 pounds or more overweight
  • Were wearing heels three or more inches high at the time of the test
  • Are age 65 or older

3. If Police Do Not Administer The Test Properly, The Charge May Be Dismissed

If an officer arrests you for DUI based on the results of a failed field sobriety test and you were not a proper candidate for testing, the officer may not have had probable cause to arrest you. Depending on the circumstances, the case may be dismissed because of the lack of probable cause for the arrest.

Attorney Rob McKinney has taken 64 hours of training in field sobriety testing. He is qualified to teach courses on how to correctly administer the standardized tests developed by NHTSA. He has used this knowledge to protect the rights of clients charged with DUI.

There are many more than three things you should know about field sobriety testing. To learn more or to discuss your DUI case, please contact DUI defense lawyer Rob McKinney by email or call 615-686-2115. Since 1994, he has represented clients facing DUI charges in Nashville, Tennessee, and the surrounding area.

To learn more about the legal aspects of drunk driving, please visit our Drunk Driving/DUI Practice Page.