Field sobriety tests are notoriously unreliable. However, police officers continue using field sobriety tests in order to build a case against suspected drunk drivers. A standard field sobriety test involves:
-Standing on one leg
-Walking heel-to-toe in a straight line
-Tracking horizontal movement of an object in an HGN visual test
Both sober people and intoxicated people can fail these field sobriety tests. If you want to avoid failing an ‘FST’ while sober, then here are a few reasons why a sober individual can deliver an intoxicated readout during a test:
-Sleep deprivation: Driving while sleep-deprived is nearly as dangerous as driving while drunk. Those who are sleep deprived often exhibit similar signs to those who are consuming drugs or alcohol. This is a particular problem for workers returning from night shifts early in the early hours of the morning, or for anybody who gets less sleep than they should be getting.
-Distractions: A field sobriety test is stressful on a good day. But when you’re having a bad day due to problems at work, a relationship, or any other type of problem, it can cause a serious distraction during an FST. During the FST, officers closely monitor the individual’s ability to pay attention, and this ability may be compromised if the individual is focusing on something else.
-Stress: As we just mentioned, field sobriety testing is usually a stressful event, even if you’re completely sober. But if you’re already stressed prior to taking the test, it can create enough of a distraction to deliver an ‘intoxicated’ readout to the officer.
-Inner ear infection or any type of inner ear condition: Balance is the most important part of a field sobriety test. But some people aren’t good at balancing regardless of how sober they are. And worse, other people have an ear infection or any other type of inner ear problem that significantly impedes their balance. Even something as simple as the flu can impede balance and cause an individual to fail field sobriety testing.
-Overweight or out of shape: Not everybody has the physical stamina to stand on one leg for a period of 30 seconds. If you’re over 65 or overweight, then performing the balance tests in an FST can be challenging. It’s even more challenging for those who suffer from certain leg, knee, or back ailments.
-Prescription medication: Just because medication has been legally prescribed to you doesn’t mean that it’s legal to drive while taking it. Be sure to ask your pharmacist about the effects of medication. Although you might not be alcohol intoxicated, you are still driving under the influence of a drug (regardless of whether or not it’s legally prescribed) and the officer may issue a DUI or DWI charge.
Eye problems or eye conditions: During an HGN visual test, the officer closely watches the driver’s eyes for any shaky or jerky movement. Unfortunately, this movement is more pronounced when intoxicated and it is completely involuntary. And to make matters worse, those who have certain eye conditions may fail the HGN test when sober.
If you have been wrongfully accused of a DUI or DWI, then you need effective legal representation. Contact a law office that specializes in dismissing DWI charges in the state of New York. Contact the Law Offices of Benjamin Yu today.