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Flaws with field sobriety tests

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2021 | DWI / Drunk Driving |

When the police pull over a New Jersey motorist suspected of driving while intoxicated, a field sobriety test will surely follow. If the driver fails the field sobriety test, legal troubles will begin. Failing does not mean the court will accept the evidence without any challenges, however.

Challenging the tests

There are three common ways that a person accused of driving while intoxicated may counter results from field sobriety tests. One method involves noting that the tests are only sometimes reliable. The one-legged stand, walking and turning, and following an object with one’s eyes are three typical field sobriety tests. Since they may not be accurate 100% of the time, the accused could challenge that the officer’s test results don’t automatically indicate intoxication.

Even an experienced police officer could make a mistake when conducting a field sobriety test. Because the test results serve as evidence, mistakes could undermine their credibility. Law enforcement officials must follow specific requirements for running the tests as established by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines. Deviating from these norms could render the test results inadmissible.

Sometimes, a driver’s mental or physical state could affect the results. A medical condition could cause someone to fail the test. While they failed the test, they were not drunk.

DWI and penalties

The penalties for a DWI in New Jersey could be severe. License suspensions, fines and jail time are among them. The sanctions increase with subsequent offenses. Challenging improper field sobriety test results could keep an innocent driver from facing the penalties.

There are other ways to challenge DWI charges. Flawed breath or blood test results may also be inadmissible.