Are Field Sobriety Tests Accurate?

A field sobriety test is a series of physical tasks and actions that a person will need to perform if they are suspected of driving under the influence. But are such tests scientifically accurate? In this bog, we walk you through the many flaws that field sobriety tests have.

What Is a Field Sobriety Test?

Field sobriety tests usually include things like making a suspect walk in a straight line or having them touch the tip of their finger to their nose while standing on one leg. Another field sobriety test that is frequently used by police is to have a person recite the alphabet backwards.  As you can see, these tests are questionable at best, and reveal more about person’s physical or mental shortcomings than whether they are actually drunk or not.

The truth is, a lot of sober drivers would likely find it difficult to “pass” one or more aspects of these tests. In fact, the following factors can significantly impact the results of field sobriety tests:

  • Emotional stress from being stopped and questioned by police
  • A person’s poor physical health
  • Noise from nearby traffic and weather conditions
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Poor training of the officer issuing the test

Can I Refuse a Field Sobriety Test?

Police issue field sobriety tests as a way to establish their preconceived conclusion that a driver is under the influence. This enables them to force a DUI suspect to consent to more accurate chemical testing like a blood, breath, or urine test.

Despite officers using them for years, field sobriety tests ultimately lack any form of scientific accuracy and are not capable of really indicating a person’s intoxication levels. In fact, the symptoms of intoxication coincide with many other illnesses and health conditions.

If you find yourself pulled over and asked to perform a field sobriety test, remember, you have the right to refuse. Politely decline to take the field sobriety test and immediately ask for your attorney if you end up being arrested for driving under the influence.

Have you been arrested for a DUI? Contact our Clearwater team of DUI attorneys to request a consultation today.