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Are field sobriety tests accurate?

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2017 | Criminal Defense |

With the holiday season well underway, residents in West Virginia will want you pay special attention to the choices they make when it comes to how they get to and from holiday celebrations. Law enforcement agencies often increase patrol efforts to identify and arrested suspected drunk drivers at this time of year. If you are ever one of these people that is stopped and eventually asked by an officer to perform certain tests, you should know that these tests are not completely accurate.

According to, of the three standardized tests approved for use by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the most accurate test is the one that measures an involuntary jerking motion of your eye. This test is at best said to be accurate in 77 percent of cases. The walk-and-turn test has an accuracy rate of 68 percent while the test that requires you to balance perfectly on one leg while counting out loud has an accuracy rate of only 65 percent.

The combined accuracy rate of all three tests increases only slightly to 82 percent. Neurological conditions, your weight and problems with or injuries to your back, legs, knees, feet or ankles may all contribute to you not being able to perform these tests as instructed.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give West Virginia residents who have been accused of failing a field sobriety test an idea of how inaccurate these tests may be and what things might interfere with their ability to pass these tests.