The Unreliability of Field Sobriety Evaluations

Why You Need a DUI Attorney in Atlanta

For decades, it has been apparent that many field sobriety tests are unscientific and inaccurate, with some studies suggesting a nearly 30% to 50% error rate. Particularly for drivers who may have a borderline BAC, these field sobriety tests can be highly unreliable.

Sober people are known to "fail" these tests simply because of misunderstood instructions, anxiety, language barriers, or simple distractedness. Sometimes, an officer may not have the proper training to administer these tests correctly. The results of field sobriety evaluations are far from iron clad. Talk to an Atlanta drunk driving lawyer at Thomas & Willis, LLC to learn how you could counter this evidence and go on to win your case.

Despite the dubious results these evaluations can provide, police officers often rely on some or all of the following tests to assess whether or not someone has been driving impaired:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test: This eye test involves an officer holding out an object such as a penlight and asking you to follow it with your eyes. If your eyes twitch before hitting a 45-degree angle, or if your eyes jerk in various ways, you could be suspected of DUI. This test is considered scientific and highly reliable-in ideal conditions. Impairment is not the only reason this test can be failed of course, as prescription medication or medical issues could produce similar results, or an officer can administer the test incorrectly.
  • One-Leg-Stand Test: This involves standing on one leg and counting, often for about 30 seconds. Waving your arms, hopping, and letting your foot touch the ground are a few of the simple ways this test can be failed. Of course, there are a host of other reasons besides impairment that could be the real reason behind a failed test, such as being overweight, taking medication, wearing bad shoes, or getting distracted.
  • Walk-and-Turn Test: This is the test in which participants are supposed to take nine heel-to-toe steps, twist around, and then take those same steps back, all while maintaining balance, keeping to a straight line, and counting aloud. Age, weight, and nervousness are just a few of the reasons a failed test could be inaccurate.

Field sobriety test results can be challenged!

The Atlanta DUI attorneys at this firm are qualified to defend you. In fact, an awarded attorney at the firm is certified in NHTSA's Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and works in conjunction with field sobriety evaluation experts. Your DUI charge can be lessened or even dismissed through the skilled advocacy found at Thomas & Willis, LLC, where DUI defenders have been protecting rights and clearing names for more than 230 years combined.

Reach this law office today to get started on your DUI defense!