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We have deep ties to the community, we have represented clients in Southwest Florida for more than 25 years.

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We have deep ties to the community, we have represented clients in Southwest Florida for more than 25 years.

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You could fail this field sobriety test even when you’re sober

Many Florida residents tend to joke that they couldn’t walk a straight line when they are sober, let alone when they have been drinking. If you have any kind of balance issues or are getting up there in years, you probably won’t be able to stand on one leg either.

Essentially, you could fail a field sobriety test without a drop of alcohol or drugs in your system. In fact, research indicates that no less than 33 percent of all sober drivers who take these tests fail them. A police officer may place you under arrest for DUI at this point. Later at the police station or jail, if you take a breath test that indicates that you are not intoxicated, police retain the record of your arrest.

Reasons why you should refuse to take field sobriety tests

You can decline to participate in field sobriety tests. The standardized tests police may administer include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, one-leg stand, and walk and turn tests. Even though these are the approved tests, they have flaws.

The problem is that the results vary from officer to officer. Different officers could administer these tests to you, and they would each more than likely obtain different results. Many may agree that the most subjective of these tests is the one-leg stand test.

What’s wrong with the one-leg stand test?

Even under ideal conditions, the one-leg stand test is notoriously inaccurate. It may serve as a better indicator of age than of impairment. The government conducted a study regarding this test and found that, under ideal conditions, police falsely arrested 47 percent of the study’s participants.

The percentage of erroneous results from the one-leg stand test can only increase out in the field where conditions are most certainly not ideal. Passing traffic, uneven surfaces and noise don’t make concentrating on the test any easier. In addition, any of the following balance issues could skew the results:

  • Inner ear infections
  • Medications
  • Head injuries
  • Low blood pressure

Other brain and inner ear issues could also cause you to fail the test.

But wait, that’s not all

Other physical conditions can affect the outcome of the one-leg stand test:

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Herniated disks
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Plantar warts
  • Sciatica
  • Circulation issues
  • Torn menisci
  • Eye muscle imbalance
  • Arthritis

Well, you get the picture. Far too many physical conditions other than impairment can cause you to fail this field sobriety test. If you find yourself under arrest for DUI based on this or other field sobriety tests, you would benefit from challenging those results.


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