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Are the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests Reliable?

November 6, 2018

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One of the ways police officers screen for drunk drivers is to administer the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). These are a series of three tests:

  1. The one leg stand – in which the driver is instructed to stand steadily on one leg
  2. The walk in turn – in which the driver is supposed to walk a straight line, turn and walk a straight line again
  3. The horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) –  in which the driver is instructed to follow the finger of the officer with their eyes

The question then arises: “Are these tests reliable?”

In many instances, the answer is no. There are many reasons why a person may not be able to stand on one leg steadily for example. Here are some common scenarios to illustrate this:

  1. A woman wearing high heels
  2. Someone who has medical issues with their knee and cannot be stable on one leg
  3. Someone who is heavyset
  4. Someone who is clumsy
  5. Any one of us because we never practice standing on one leg – EVER

Unfortunately, the observations made in these roadside tests are often presented by the officer as proof of your impairment. A good lawyer will argue that the observations the office made were not the result of alcohol impairment, but in fact had another explanation.

If you have recently been pulled over for OUI or DWI and were asked to perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, please call us now at (888) 526-9737. At Bowser law, we will examine your case and formulate a strategy to protect your rights. People who can’t afford a DUI trust Mike Bowser.

25 years of Proven Personal Injury Results.

(888) 526-9737