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Is it possible to Pass Field Sobriety Tests?


One of the top questions I hear from clients, friends and family alike is"is it possible to pass field sobriety tests?" The short answer is yes, but it rarely happens.

Field sobriety tests have been around since the 80s and have been consistently touted by law enforcement as an accurate determination of impairment in suspected DUI drivers. The current 3 test battery has remained unchanged since their inception, and continues to be one of the most central pieces of evidence in a DUI case. In my opinion, perhaps the biggest problem with these field sobriety tests is the scoring.

Chances are if you took field sobriety tests on the side of the road, you were not told the scoring system, or even given a chance to inquire about it. Had you been, you may not have been as confident about 'passing' these tests and being released to continue driving home. Scoring criteria for field sobriety tests are completely subjective and absolutely unreasonable. For example, on the "walk the line" test, as most people refer to it, you are not actually being judged on your ability to simply walk a line. Rather, your every step and movement is being scrutinized for one of the 8 ways you can almost instantly fail the test. Turn the wrong way and miss a heel to toe step by 2 inches? You have failed. Raise your arm 6 inches off your side while stepping slightly to the left of the "line"? You have failed. There are eight criteria on this test alone that are judged, and if you fail to comply with 2 of the 8 criteria, you have failed. The officer who arrested you will strut into court and confidently opine that you were D.U.I.

So, can you pass field sobriety tests? Yes. However, few people do. Even when I see what constitutes a passing score on one or two of the tests, the cop will weigh the other factors more heavily in deciding to arrest you for DUI. Because these tests are so central to our clients' DUI cases, we take these tests seriously. Both my partner and I keep up to date on any changes to these tests, and have been through training on the official NHTSA curriculum that officers learn from.

If you have been arrested for DUI, and took field sobriety tests, call us today to discuss these tests and how they will impact your case. We will setup an office appointment to discuss how to best defend your DUI charges, with the goal being to secure a reduced plea or acquittal on the DUI. We can be reached directly at (770) 676-1340.

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