How Non-Standardized DUI Field Sobriety Tests May Prove Unreliable

Even though elevated alcohol levels clearly cause mental and physical impairments that can seriously impede on the ability of the person to safely operate a motor vehicle, it’s not entirely clear whether a non-chemical field sobriety test is reliable enough evidence from which an expert can gauge your sobriety. In this article, the Milwaukee DUI drunk driving attorneys at Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. will explain why these field sobriety tests may not be an accurate indicator of driving impairment.

Non-chemical field sobriety tests, by their very nature, can be unreliable or just marginally reliable. Among the many issues related to non-chemical field sobriety tests are:

  • There is lack of concrete scientific data that supports the reliability of the field sobriety test.
  • It is unknown how the tested person would perform on the test if he were sober.
  • There might be competing medical or physical reasons why the tested subject performed badly.
  • The study itself may be defectively designed.
  • Some of the tests use means and averages that might not apply to the tested person’s particular situation.
  • The test might have been improperly administered by the arresting officer or improperly evaluated by the expert.

There are also problems inherent in using statistics from one set of data to support tests that were administered differently. For example, using statistics from standardized field sobriety tests to support the results of non-standardized field sobriety tests is troublesome because they are two very different tests with different means of gauging the driving impairment.

Thus, it is important that scientists consider all the aspects, including the problematic ones, of a non-chemical performance before they either: (1) come up with a conclusion as to your sobriety, or (2) make a generalized opinion about the impairment of “all persons” at a particular level.

If you’re facing a DUI trial, you need an experienced lawyer who will question the reliability of any non-standardized DUI field sobriety test used against you. The dedicated Milwaukee DUI drunk driving attorneys at Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. have extensive experience successfully handling DUI cases. Just fill out the form on this page for a free initial consultation.