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Can you challenge the outcome of field sobriety tests?

A police officer has likely already started gathering evidence by the time they pull you over if they suspect you are under the influence. They may have video footage of you driving in what they deem to be an unsafe manner. As soon as they approach your vehicle, they will start asking you questions that could lead to you implicating yourself.

Depending on your answers and any other evidence they notice, the police officer might ask you to exit the vehicle to perform field sobriety tests. Although they may seem like a way for an officer to humiliate you, roadside sobriety tests are just a tool to help build a criminal case. These tests help screen you for signs of significant chemical impairment.

The results of field sobriety tests can both give officers the probable cause they need to perform a chemical breath test and evidence to help push for your conviction in criminal court. If you have already submitted to these tests, will it be possible to challenge the inclusion of field sobriety tests in the pool of evidence against you?

Mistakes by the officer can impact the evidence

There are standards for field sobriety testing, and if officers don’t adhere to those standards, the evidence they gather may not be useful in criminal court. For example, they should stick to the standard field sobriety tests, including the walk-and-turn test, one-leg-stand test, and horizontal gaze nystagmus test.

They should also perform the test at a location where either their body camera or dashboard camera will capture video of the test performance. If an officer makes mistakes regarding how they administer the test, then that could lead to your defense lawyer potentially challenging the test results in a criminal trial.

Your health could be the source of the issue

An officer could potentially perform a field sobriety test perfectly and still have it return inaccurate results. Someone’s pre-existing medical conditions could impact their performance on a field sobriety test, for example, as can a host of other factors.

An officer who is not accounting for someone’s underlying medical issues, including health issues that affect muscle control or anxiety disorders, could lead to unreliable test results with alternative medical explanations. Looking into different means of pushing back against pending drunk driving charges and seeking legal guidance could help you in your quest to avoid a criminal conviction.