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Can you trust a field sobriety test?

Field sobriety tests are frequently used by law enforcement officers in Houston and elsewhere after pulling over a suspected drunk driver. During a field sobriety test, you might be asked to perform such actions as balancing on one leg, walking in a straight line and following simple directions. These actions sound simple enough, but being able to pass a field sobriety test can be anything but simple for some people, even when sober. The result might be a false arrest.

ABC Action News points out that field sobriety tests rely on an officer’s personal judgment, rather than chemical results from a breath, blood or urine test. Consequently, the accuracy of a field sobriety test depends on an officer’s training and ability to correctly judge. It may not be easy for you to pass a field sobriety test, or for a police officer to accurately determine that your actions or behavior were not the result of intoxication. For example, if you naturally have problems balancing, an officer might incorrectly assume you are drunk if you cannot stand on one leg for longer than a couple of seconds. If you have an injury, a speech impediment or are simply too nervous to follow instructions properly, an officer might think you had too much to drink.

Numerous factors ranging from an illness to a simple thing you say might lead to a false arrest after a field sobriety test. In fact, some believe that the test was designed to fail. Since drunk driving defense is a complex topic, the information in this post should not replace the advice of a lawyer.

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