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How sober people can fail field sobriety tests

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2023 | Drunk Driving

Field sobriety tests are often given out by police officers who suspect that someone is under the influence. Maybe the officer watched the driver run a red light at 2:00 A.M. The officer doesn’t know that the driver is drunk but they have reasonable cause to stop the car. They can then ask the driver to get out and perform field sobriety tests. If the driver fails those tests, they may be given a breathalyzer.

But field sobriety tests are not necessarily as ironclad as some people assume. It’s definitely possible to fail these tests, even when someone is completely sober. Why would this happen?

Medical conditions

One potential reason is if the person has a medical condition. Maybe they’re feeling sick, they have a headache and they’re feeling weak. They may stumble on the walk-and-turn test, even though they haven’t been drinking.

Known disabilities

Another potential reason is if the person has a disability. Maybe they have trouble with fine motor skills. They could fail the one-leg stand test due to this disability, even though they’re sober.

The driver’s age

Finally, age could even play a role. An elderly driver may be suffering from some level of cognitive impairment, or they may have physical limitations that make it harder for them to perform the tests. A younger driver may be very nervous and have difficulty paying attention, causing them to fail the field sobriety tests.

These are just three examples out of many potential reasons why sober drivers could still be accused of impaired driving. Those who find themselves in this position need to be aware of all their legal defense options.