You may have wondered what would happen if you were pulled over by the police and asked to do a field sobriety test. You should know that it is possible for a sober person to fail these tests. You may refuse to participate in a field sobriety test, but such a refusal will result in a trip to the station. If you are ever in this position, you need to consider whether you are physically able to pass these tests.
Although every state has different DUI or DWI laws, the standards and punishments are usually pretty similar. Most states enforce the "implied consent" standard, meaning that you have given consent to be tested for DUI by applying for and receiving a driver's license. In some instances, you may be able to avoid the road sobriety tests by asking for a lawyer, but you will be taken to the police station and given a breathalyzer test, which is not optional. Refusing that test will cause you to be arrested and lose your license. Of course, if you do fail the breathalyzer, you deserve severe punishment since you never have a valid excuse to drink and drive.
Field Sobriety Tests
These tests are not 100% accurate because they measure physical reactions that can be caused by certain medical conditions as well as by alcohol. For instance, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, or HGN, measures your eyes' ability to follow the movement of a flashlight or pen. If your eyes jerk or shake 45 degrees from center, it can be a sign of intoxication. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes these tests are accurate 88% of the time. However, medical conditions can cause this eye shakiness, too. For instance, diabetic neuropathy, brain injury, and multiple sclerosis can cause this problem.
One test requires you to walk nine steps heel to toe in a straight line and then pivot and repeat the process. During this walk, you must keep your head down and your hands at your sides while you count your steps out loud. It is meant to test your coordination and your ability to follow directions. The NHTSA believes this test is 79% accurate, which leaves room for error. Anyone with a balance problem will have problems with this test, including some overweight and elderly people. If you suffer from vertigo, you will find this exercise extremely difficult to complete successfully.
If you have certain physical conditions, you may want to refuse a field sobriety test and choose to voluntarily take a breathalyzer test. Get the advice of a good DUI attorney such as Kayle Jackson as soon as possible and follow their advice.