As a North Carolina resident who has taken and failed a field sobriety test, it may feel like the end of the line. However, field sobriety tests are actually not that reliable in the grand scheme of things. There are many different factors that can affect the outcome of these tests and influence them negatively even if an individual is sober.
Can a failed field test be enough to convict me of drunk driving?
A field sobriety test on its own without anything else to back it up has a high chance of being disregarded. Why is that? Simply put, it’s because many factors can affect whether or not a person fails a field sobriety test. Injuries, medical conditions, age and weight can all affect the outcome of a test.
Standardized field sobriety tests are not foolproof. If they are used in court, it is usually to supplement other, stronger pieces of evidence. According to the Cornell Law School, field sobriety tests are designed to check a suspect’s mental and physical abilities to multitask. They will test a person’s balance, the stability of their gaze, and how well they can move.
Who may fail a test without being drunk?
Many people naturally have trouble balancing or moving without wobbling. An elderly driver, someone with arthritis or another medical condition could find it difficult to hold the poses demanded by law enforcement. People who are more than 50 pounds overweight can also have trouble supporting themselves, balancing or turning without falling.
If you have to go to court to face a DUI-related accusation, if the evidence hinges on a field sobriety test’s result, you may have a chance of getting your case dismissed.