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Subjective Nature of Field Sobriety Tests

Posted on:12/2/2011
Due to the highly subjective nature of the field sobriety tests, these tests are inherently flawed. The police officer administering the test will never tell you but the fact is that the same officer administering the test makes the determination whether to arrest you. More often than not, this determination is generally incorrect.

Many studies conducted by the NHTSA show large error rates by the police officers. The police officer administering the test is most likely to make a determination that the driver is under the influence even if the driver isn’t. A police officer has a predisposition to arrest a suspected driver for DUI.

Police officers do not perform the field sobriety tests in a uniform unvarying way. Many police departments use other sobriety tests besides the standardized field sobriety tests developed by the NHTSA. The lack of consistency is one of the main reasons for incorrect decisions.

Police officers are afforded unfettered discretion in administering the field sobriety tests. They can choose which test to administer and they are the ultimate judge – they decide who passes and who fails.

The police officer does not take into consideration any factors that can influence the results of these tests. For example, if the road surface is slippery, a person who is asked to perform the one leg stand can slip because of the slippery surface and not because he is intoxicated. But for the officer, the person is intoxicated because he slipped while performing the one leg stand.

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