Everyone understands the importance of catching people who are driving under the influence, and punishing them to discourage similar behavior in the future.
But while law enforcement officials would have you believe that field sobriety tests are a foolproof method of detecting alcohol content, a growing body of evidence suggests otherwise.
Multiple Factors to Consider
Among the factors that can affect your blood alcohol content are your age, gender, body type, rate of consumption, fat/muscle ratio, any medication you might be on, diabetes, and how much you’ve eaten.
With so many factors to take into account, the amount of alcohol that shows up in terms of blood content also changes from individual to individual, meaning no two people will test the same way after consuming the same amount of alcohol.
Generic Standards of Testing
People, even when they’re sober, will complete sobriety tests with varying degrees of success. In such cases, how does the officer decide where the line is drawn between sobriety and intoxication?
Few sobriety tests gauge alcohol content with any measure of reliability. Even the most popular tests, such as the walk and turn and the one-leg stand carry a wide margin for error and rely more on personal judgment of the police officer than on a scientifically quantifiable method of measurement.
Poor understanding of the reason behind applying a particular test can also result in flawed results.
Complexity of the Questions
Getting pulled over by the police is a highly stressful situation for any ordinary citizen. You are already feeling nervous and on edge. Under these circumstances, it would be very easy to fall prey to anxiety, and misinterpret the officer’s questions.
This can lead to improper performance during the sobriety test, not because of alcohol, but because of your own nerves. The officer, being insensitive to your mental state, would conclude that you are indeed drunk.
It’s not always possible to know right away that you’re sick. You could have a fever or some other kind of weakness without even being aware of it.
If you are driving in such a condition and get pulled over, your symptoms might lead to the conclusion on the officer’s part that you are under the influence of alcohol.
Lack of Coordination
Officers sometimes forget to budget for the fact that the suspect might simply be clumsy, and as such unable to perform any balancing test successfully.
With many flaws in the execution of sobriety tests, why are such tests even being used today? Sadly enough, the answer seems to be that people are reluctant to try and adapt to new methods.
In Case You Get Pulled Over
The day might come when you are pulled over by the police on suspicion of being drunk and subjected to a sobriety test. Because such tests are designed for you to fail, and thus give the police an opportunity to get probable cause, do not consent to field sobriety tests.
Chances are, if you refuse all on-site tests, your license will be suspended, and you will be taken in to jail and given a blood test for your BAC. In most cases your BAC will have gone down anyways, and you will have a better chance of fighting for your freedom in a court of law. You can beat the rap, you just can’t beat the ride.
If you find yourself facing unjust jail time and criminal charges, don’t hesitate to request a free consultation with Thiessen Law Firm. We’ll make sure the law is upheld in the face of inaccurate and often unfair methods of determining drunk driving.