Madelyn Daley
Attorney at Law

US Local 618-509-9724

Field sobriety tests are not always accurate

We often hear about how the accuracy of Breathalyzer results depends on various factors such as whether the officer at the scene administered the test correctly and properly calibrated the Breathalyzer device. However, field sobriety test results can also be inaccurate for a number of reasons.

Roadside field sobriety tests are a way for officers to determine whether an Illinois driver has been driving while under the influence. If an officer suspects drunk driving, her or she may ask the motorist to submit to a field sobriety test. The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) typically consists of the three parts: horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk-and-turn, and one-leg stand. The HGN test requires drivers to follow a moving object with their eyes. The walk-and turn requires a driver to walk along a straight line and turn on one foot, and walk back. Finally, the one-leg stand requires drivers to stand with one foot in the air for 30 seconds. The officer will observe the driver's balance, coordination, and various other factors to determine whether the driver has passed or failed. If the driver fails, he or she may be given a Breathalyzer test and may eventually be arrested for driving under the influence.

While field sobriety test results can be accurate when the test is administered properly, the truth is that many circumstances may lead to unreliable results. In some cases, officers fail to follow protocol when administering the test. Officers are also often not trained to properly assess the results of the tests, meaning that they may determine that someone is drunk when they are sober. Certain drivers, including drivers with a cognitive impairment or injury and drivers who are nervous, may fail the test even though they are not impaired.

If you have been arrested on a DUI charge, contact a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can get inaccurate field sobriety and Breathalyzer results thrown out of your case, and get your charges dropped altogether.

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