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Consider challenging the field sobriety tests when you get a DUI

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2023 | Criminal Defense

If you’ve been pulled over and charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania, you may want to challenge the field sobriety test given by law enforcement officials. A police officer can use it to determine if you’re under the influence if you refuse to comply with a breathalyzer request. Highlighting flaws in the test, your physical or mental condition during the test or the inability of the officer to perform the tests correctly can help prove your innocence.

Focus on flaws in the test

A field sobriety test involves three different tests, which include the following:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus – This test checks your eyes for involuntary jerking when you gaze to the side.
  • Walk and turn – You must walk in a straight line, heel to toe, taking nine steps.
  • One leg stand – You must stand on one leg and count until the officer instructs you to stop.

You may be able to challenge these tests in court for their reliability. Some studies have shown that these tests are only 81% to 91% reliable when an officer is trying to determine if you’re intoxicated.

Performing the tests incorrectly

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration created a set of guidelines that must be followed when executing these tests. It can be helpful for you to challenge whether the arresting officer completed each test correctly.

Failing to consider your physical or mental condition

When you have a psychological or medical condition, it can significantly skew the DUI test results. Maintaining balance and equilibrium would be challenging if you have an inner ear infection or condition. Damage to the inner ear can also cause you to fail this test when you’re not intoxicated.

Brain injuries can also cause false positives when the horizontal gaze nystagmus test is completed. Sober individuals with skeletal arm and leg movement disorders have also been falsely accused of driving while intoxicated.