Are field sobriety tests fully accurate?
If you or someone you know in New York has been arrested for and charged with drunk driving, you will want to have an understanding of the opportunities for a defense against these charges. One thing you should learn about are the many steps involved in the arrest process and just how accurate they are and what potential for errors might exist. This error potential may give you some opportunities in your defense.
FieldSobrietyTests.org explains that there are three standardized tests approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for use in a driving under the influence arrest. None of these tests have been found to be accurate 100 percent of the time. If an officer uses all three tests, the accuracy of them together is higher than for any test on its own but even then the results are considered reliable in only 82 out of 100 cases.
The least accurate of all three tests is the one-leg stand test with an accuracy rate of 65 percent. Your ability to balance perfectly on one foot may be impeded by many things including medical conditions, issues with your hips or knees, your weight, lighting, your shoes and more. The walk-and-turn test and horizontal gaze nystagmus test have accuracy rates of 68 percent and 77 percent, respectively.
This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give New York residents an overview of the types of tests performed during a drunk driving arrest and just how accurate they may or may not be.
Neil S. Ruskin
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