When police suspect that a driver has been drinking, they will often request a field sobriety test. While field sobriety tests are usually not used as evidence in court, they are used to establish probable cause for the use of breath tests and blood alcohol tests.
The problem with field sobriety tests, however, is that they may sometimes lead police to make faulty assumptions. Insufficient instructions, improper administration of the test, inclement weather or even the type of shoes that are being worn by the person taking the test may lead an officer to believe that the driver has been drinking when he or she has not.
A 27-year-old woman from Annapolis was arrested recently in Ocean City after failing a field sobriety test. The woman had been asked to perform the test after she reportedly nearly struck three Ocean City police officers who were walking in a crosswalk at an intersection.
A common field sobriety test is the one-leg stand, where an individual is asked to stand on one leg, with the other leg six inches off the ground and arms at his or her side. The individual is then asked to continue standing that way while counting aloud to thirty. Another test is the walk and turn test. This test involves an individual to walk heel-toe for several steps, then turn around, and walk back. The horizontal gaze nystagmus, where an individual is asked to follow an officer's hand before his or her face and into the peripheral is also a common test.
When a person has failed a field sobriety test and is subsequently arrested for DUI, he or she may find it helpful to consult with an attorney to review the case. An attorney may review reports as to how the test was given, and in what sort of conditions, in order to determine if there were problems with the administration of the test.
Source: delmarvaNow.com, "Today's police news: Laurel teen faces attempted murder charge," July 15, 2013