Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are a set of nationally recognized and standardized tests that are commonly used by police officers in Auburn, Alabama to determine whether or not a person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
While it is claimed that these tests are scientifically designed to assess a person’s balance, coordination, and their ability to follow instructions – based on which an officer can determine whether the person is impaired or not – the truth is that these tests are not as accurate or reliable as most people think they are.
What are the factors that make field sobriety tests unreliable in Auburn, AL? Let us take a look:
Field Sobriety Tests Are Not Truly Objective
While field sobriety tests are standardized, the results of these tests can be interpreted differently – depending on the training and experience of the officer who administers them. If the results of an FST are shown to two different officers, chances are they might interpret them in different ways.
This is because police officers are trained to look for clues that indicate that you might be impaired. If an officer is utterly convinced that you are drunk – based on the way you look or the way you drive – they might consider even the slightest misstep on your part to be a sign of intoxication.
Moreover, if the officer who administers these tests is not properly trained or does not have sufficient experience in administering field sobriety tests, they might not be able to determine whether you are intoxicated or not.
There Are No Baseline Results to Compare Your Test Results With
No two people are the same in terms of their physical condition. When administered the same test under the same conditions, a young and healthy man in his 20’s might perform quite a bit differently than a middle-aged man with underlying health problems. It is unfair to hold them to the same standards. Yet this is precisely what Auburn police officers do when they administer field sobriety tests to individuals suspected of DUI.
Moreover, the officer who administers these tests does not have any baseline results to compare your results with. In other words, the officer has no idea how you would perform the test under normal circumstances. With that said, based on your performance, they cannot accurately determine whether you are drunk or not.
Your Performance Can Be Affected by a Number of Factors
There are a number of internal as well as external factors that can affect your performance and cause you to fail these tests – even if you are not drunk.
For example, if you are older than 60 or obese, you might find it difficult to stand on one leg or walk in a straight line – even if you are not intoxicated. Similarly, if you have an injury, illness, or condition that affects your vision, hearing, balance, and coordination, you might not be able to perform these tasks to the satisfaction of the officer who stopped you.
External factors can also make it harder for you to take these tests. For example, if the road surface is uneven or wet and slippery, you might not be able to balance yourself properly. Excessive noise can make it harder for you to follow the officer’s instructions. Strong winds can make it difficult for you to balance yourself on one leg.
Unfortunately, police officers in Auburn, AL do not usually take these factors into account while administering field sobriety tests. If you do not perform to their satisfaction, they will likely assume that you are intoxicated – regardless of other factors.
If You Are Stressed, Your Performance Might Be Affected
Lastly, stress can also affect your performance to a significant extent. When an Auburn, AL police officer stops you on suspicion of intoxicated driving, you might feel stressed due to the fact that you might be arrested and charged for DUI – depending on how you perform on these tests. This can make you feel extremely nervous, as a result of which you might make mistakes which you otherwise would not have made.
Charged for DUI in Auburn, AL? We Can Help!
At Alsobrook Law Group, we know how subjective field sobriety tests can be and why they should not be treated as empirical evidence of your intoxication. Over the years, we have represented numerous clients that were charged with DUI, and we have a successful track record with these types of cases.
To find out how we can help you with your DUI case, call us today at 334-737-3718 or contact us online and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and case review.