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Can field sobriety tests give faulty results?

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2020 | DUI Defense |

In California, there are three types of standardized field sobriety tests. Officers use these tests to check a driver’s sobriety. Often, this is a first step before officers administer breath or blood tests. Still, courts sometimes use field sobriety test results as evidence. But are they fool-proof or can they sometimes have faulty results? 

The quick answer is no. Some studies suggest that field sobriety tests have an accuracy rate of 60-70 percent. The average accuracy of standardized field sobriety tests is around 50 percent. This is part of why these tests are not used as primary evidence. They are often used as supplementary pieces that support more condemning evidence. 

Why is there such a relatively low percentage of accuracy? This is because the tests check things like balance and the ability to follow directions. Many factors can influence field sobriety test results. Many are not related to alcohol. For example, many medical conditions can worsen a victim’s balance or vision. Nervousness can contribute to an inability to follow instructions. Without running breath or blood tests, it is hard to determine cause for a failed field sobriety test. This is why it is often a “first step” for officers to take. 

If you want another look into field sobriety test results, visit our linked web page. You can look at different types of tests and related results. You can also read more about the different ways in which these tests can be inaccurate. This can be crucial for a better understanding of the relationship between field sobriety tests and DUI cases.