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Are Field Sobriety Tests an Accurate Indicator of Intoxication? 

Posted on in DUI

Will County DUI Defense AttorneyField sobriety tests are standard tests used to measure an individual’s balance, coordination, and cognitive abilities. They are usually administered by law enforcement officers to determine if a person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Despite their widespread use, field sobriety tests have come under question in recent years for their accuracy in determining intoxication.

If you or a loved one are facing charges for driving under the influence (DUI) after failing a field sobriety test, contact a DUI defense lawyer for help.

Common Field Sobriety Tests

The three main types of field sobriety tests are the walk-and-turn test, the one-leg stand test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test.

  • Walk-and-Turn Test - This is a divided attention test that requires a person to take heel-to-toe steps forward, turn around walk heel-to-toe steps backwards. They must keep their hands at their side and count as they walk.

  • One-Leg Stand Test - This is a divided attention test that requires a person to stand with one foot off the ground and count.

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test - This is a test that measures involuntary eye movement in an effort to determine intoxication.

Criticisms of Field Sobriety Tests

Many different issues can lead to an individual failing a field sobriety test - even if they are sober. Factors such as age, physical fitness level, mental state and existing medical conditions can all affect performance on a field sobriety test. Additionally, the instructions for each of these tests are complex and difficult to understand, especially if the individual is nervous.

In most DUI cases, police gather additional evidence against the driver in the form of chemical blood alcohol content (BAC) tests. Breath tests and blood tests are generally considered to be more accurate than field sobriety tests. However, it is still possible for chemical BAC tests to be flawed. For example, an uncalibrated breath testing device can yield a false positive. Blood samples that are not stored properly may also be unreliable. This is why it is important for anyone facing DUI charges to work with an attorney who can investigate the case for issues like these.

Contact our Naperville DUI Defense Lawyer

Field sobriety tests are not infallible. If you have been accused of driving under the influence after failing a field sobriety test, contact experienced Aurora DUI defense lawyer Patricia Magaña for help. At Law Office of Patricia Magaña, LLC, we provide aggressive legal representation to challenge your DUI charges. Call us today at 630-448-2001 for a free consultation. Se Habla Español.




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