You Want The Lawyer Everyone Knows

Ways to challenge field sobriety test results

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2023 | Drunk Driving

You might feel as though your life is spiraling when you’re pulled over by a police officer in Texas on suspicion of drunk driving. Typically, the officer will ask you to take field sobriety tests to determine whether they believe you are intoxicated and a risk on the road. However, these tests aren’t always accurate.

Understanding field sobriety tests

There are three standard field sobriety tests police use to see whether a person is guilty of drunk driving. They include the one-leg stand test, the walk and turn test and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. The one-leg stand requires standing on one leg with your foot six inches off the ground and counting until the officer says to stop. A person fails when they lose their balance or put their arms out to steady themselves.

The walk-and-turn test is done while walking heel to toe in a straight line for a certain number of steps. The police officer will tell the person when to turn around and repeat the motions while returning toward them. If the person sways, puts a foot in the wrong position or turns improperly, the officer can claim they failed.

The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is done by following an object in the officer’s hand such as a pen. The officer checks for eye motions, expecting them to be smooth and steady. If the individual’s eye jerks, they can be deemed under the influence.

Challenging field sobriety test results

Like any other tests, field sobriety tests aren’t foolproof; there’s a large margin for error for various reasons. One way to challenge the results is that the officer didn’t properly explain the instructions or skipped a step in the test.

Some people fail these tests because of medical conditions. Those with neurological impairments, certain disorders and even an inner ear infection can easily fail because of issues with balance.

Being obese and taking certain medications can also cause a person to fail field sobriety tests. Even weather conditions, lighting, clothing and uneven surfaces can lead to poor results. In any of these situations, challenging the results is a must.