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Factors that negatively impact sobriety test results

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2020 | DUI

After a night out for casual drinks at the bar, you are unsure why a police officer is signaling you to pull over on your way home. You begin to question if your tabs are up to date or if one of your rear lights suddenly went out, because you are certain you sobered up enough to drive.

The reality is you could have truly sobered up, but a slight swerve could have supplied as enough reason for a police officer to initiate a traffic stop. And, many people wind up failing standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) for a variety of reasons outside of their control.

Environmental conditions

If a police officer asked you to walk in a straight line in a well-lit room, then you’d probably do a lot better than if the officer asked you to do so on the side of the road. Not only is it mostly likely dark outside, but the pavement could be uneven, the squad car lights could be distracting and those fancy shoes that matched your outfit perfectly might not offer the best support.

Health conditions

On top of dealing with surroundings not built perfectly for proving your balance, you could also do poorly on SFSTs due to several health conditions. Some examples include ear infections, high or low blood pressure or even motion sickness from driving. Situational stress or anxiety could also cause someone to fail any type of test due to overthinking or panic.

Administrator error

You could also fail a test if a police officer didn’t administer it correctly in the first place. Perhaps the cop was asking you to follow his pen with your eyes, but he or she moves the pen really fast making it impossible to follow. In fact, according to a study, all three of the standard SFSTs have accuracy rates that range from 65% to 77%, and when an officer administers them all together they are only flawless 82 times out of 100.

When SFSTs results don’t show an impairment, then an officer might not have probable cause to arrest an individual. If you feel like your DUI charge was unjust, then a criminal defense attorney can help guide your case.