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How can field sobriety tests be flawed?

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2020 | Drunk Driving |

New Jersey law enforcement agents often give field sobriety tests. However, courts may not use the results as anything but supplementary evidence. This is because field sobriety tests are not one hundred percent reliable. Today we will look into some of the flaws in these tests. 

First of all, the accuracy rating of these tests are somewhat low. There are three types of standardized field sobriety tests. The horizontal gaze nystagmus test has an accuracy rating of 77 percent. The one-legged stand test has 65 percent accuracy. The walk-and-turn test has 68 percent accuracy. Up to 35 percent of the people who take the tests will get an inaccurate result. 

But why is there so much room for error? It is because these tests rely on measurements that are not scientific. Being intoxicated is not the only way to “fail” a field sobriety test either. For example, many people have medical conditions that can affect their balance. This would make them unable to do two of the three standardized tests. Likewise, an individual may have difficulty following instructions for reasons unrelated to alcohol. Some have mental conditions. These disorders or conditions make it harder for someone to focus. As a result, their test performance may not reflect their level of sobriety. 

If you wish to continue reading about drunk driving, follow the link here to our web page. You may also want to read more about field sobriety tests. These are a crucial component of DUI arrests. Understanding how they work and what their purpose is can be a big help.