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Understanding field sobriety tests

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2018 | Criminal Defense |

If you are like a lot of people in West Virginia, you might not fully understand what happens during a traffic stop that turns into an investigation for suspected drunk driving. Based on what you see in movies or on television shows, you might know that some type of roadside tests are used but it is important to understand these tests and what they are actually used for if you are ever in this situation.

Many people might believe that field sobriety tests are part of how law enforcement officers prove that a driver is intoxicated. That, however, is not true. As explained by, these tests are really only used to provide just enough evidence for a police officer to legally arrest a driver by indicating that the driver might be impaired. There is no way that these tests could ever prove impairment. 

Also important to understand is that each of the three tests used has a known inaccuracy rate. Individually, the tests are said to be accurate anywhere from 65 to 77 percent of the time. If all three tests are used, their collective accuracy does go up but only to 82 percent. Several factors, including a person’s weight or other medical conditions, might interfere with the ability to pass these tests.

If you would like to learn more about the elements of a drunk driving investigation and arrest and how you can defend yourself against such charges, please feel free to visit the field sobriety test page of our West Virginia criminal defense website.