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What could go wrong during a field sobriety test?

The holidays are nearly upon us again, which means spending time with friends and family for you and many other Missouri residents. You might also be attending a few company parties. Law enforcement is also aware that there are more reasons to drink and celebrate this time of year, and they will be watching for reasons to pull someone over and conduct a sobriety test.

This might mean having to take a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests differ from breath machines or blood tests in that there is no chemical element involved to determine whether you had been drinking before getting behind the wheel. Instead, an officer will conduct a series of physical tests and consider other factors, such as your eye movements, to make a judgment on your possible impairment.

An officer conducting a standardized field sobriety test would have you perform such actions as standing on one foot and walking in a straight line. As you might suspect, he or she could arrest you for drunk driving despite the fact that you have not had anything to drink. What are some of the factors that might lead to a false arrest?

  • You might be suffering from an injury or illness that could cause you to be unsteady on your feet or lose your balance.
  • A speech impediment or mental impairment might mimic the signs of intoxication and mistakenly lead the officer to assume you are drunk.
  • You might suffer from fatigue or allergies, which could cause red, puffy eyes and other false signs of intoxication.
  • You could simply be nervous and have difficulty understanding the instructions of the test.

It may help to tell an officer about any physical or mental conditions when you are pulled over, so he or she can take that into consideration. It is important to understand that although field sobriety tests are frequently used as tools in law enforcement’s fight against drunk driving, they are not always accurate.

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