How Reliable Are Field Sobriety Tests When Looking For DUI Offenders?

Why You Can’t Trust On Field Sobriety Tests To Determine If You’re Driving Under The Influence

If you are pulled over on suspicion of drinking under the influence, the officer is likely to do one of two things: Administer a breathalyzer test to analytically measure how much alcohol is in your system, or administer a series of field sobriety tests to assess the symptoms that might indicate that you are under the influence. The field sobriety tests include things like walking in a straight line, touching your finger to your nose, and so on. You’ve likely seen many dramatic reenactments of these tests in television shows and movies.

While you may think that the results of these field sobriety tests are damning and can lead to your assured conviction, any good DUI defense attorney in Tempe will tell you that these field sobriety tests are not that reliable and can be easily challenged. Here are just a few of the reasons why the field sobriety tests cannot be considered reliable:

A man taking a field sobriety test for driving under the influence in Avondale, AZ

Questionable Scientific Studies Were Used To Develop Them

Field sobriety tests were developed after the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration commissioned a series of studies in the late 1970s. The studies were sponsored by the government with the express purpose of finding ways to determine who to prosecute for driving under the influence. The studies also were not opened to peer review and study, which is standard practice for every legitimate scientific study.

Therefore, these studies have not been able to be verified to produce accurate and reliable information, and they were conducted at the behest of a biased source. The information that these studies produced cannot be trusted, yet law enforcement uses it every day.

Officers Are Not Trained To Know Exactly What These Field Sobriety Tests Measure

The studies may have been used to develop the field sobriety tests, but the information they produced has never been shared with law enforcement officers. Most police officers can only tell you how to conduct the field sobriety tests, not what the tests are actually measuring or why that’s important. They only know how to conduct the tests and what signs to look for to know that a person “failed” the test.

If even police officers don’t understand why the results of their field sobriety tests matter, then how can the results of those tests be used to convict you? Your Phoenix DUI defense attorney will challenge these tests through whatever means available.

The Field Sobriety Test May Not Always Indicate You’re Drunk

A lack of balance or coordination doesn’t mean your drunk. It could mean that you have Musculo-skeletal issues or even an ear infection. Slurred speech doesn’t always mean that you’re intoxicated, either. You could have a speech issue or a medical condition that causes it. There are many reasons why you might fail a field sobriety test that has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you’ve been drinking.

Your Tucson DUI lawyer will go through each piece of evidence being used against you and figure out the best strategy for challenging it. That might include looking through your medical record, talking to you about the circumstances of that night, challenging the officer’s perceptions of what happened, and so on. Your lawyer will know what defenses will work best.

Do not feel like a failed field sobriety test means the end. A DUI conviction is not guaranteed. You just need to find the best Mesa DUI defense attorney you can and determine the best strategy for fighting the charges. Your DUI lawyer may challenge the field sobriety test or other evidence being used against you. Your attorney will help you understand the best way forward to get the best outcome.

Call Experienced DUI Defense Attorneys In Avondale, AZ

The DUI defense attorneys at My AZ Lawyers are ready to help you fight your DUI charge. Our experienced attorneys help those facing their first DUI charge or a subsequent charge. They will use every legal strategy possible to either help you avoid conviction or to help reduce your penalties. The consequences of a DUI can follow you for years. We look for every way to reduce the impact. We serve clients throughout Avondale, Glendale, Tucson, Mesa, and Phoenix. Contact us today to schedule a time to talk with an Arizona DUI defense attorney about your options.


Contact Professional Family Attorneys In Arizona

Arizona Offices:

Mesa Location:
1731 West Baseline Rd., Suite #100
Mesa, AZ 85202

Office: (480) 448-9800

Phoenix Location:
343 West Roosevelt, Suite #100
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Office: (602) 609-7000

Glendale Location:
20325 N 51st Avenue Suite #134, Building 5
Glendale, AZ 85308

Office: (602) 509-0955

Tucson Location:
2 East Congress St., Suite #900-6A
Tucson, AZ 85701

Office: (520) 441-1450

Avondale Location:
12725 W. Indian School Rd., Ste E, #101
Avondale, AZ 85392

Office: (623) 469-6603

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