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The Obvious Flaws of Sobriety Tests

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Though often used to determine Virginia DUI, the truth is that field sobriety tests are not always the best way of judging whether a driver is intoxicated or not. The problem with a vast majority of these tests is that they suffer from inherent flaws.

Regardless of their scientific inaccuracy and susceptibility to human error, field sobriety tests are often used at sobriety checkpoints, or when a police officer suspects DUI during a Virginia traffic stop. 

These tests come in several common varieties. One is the Nystagmus test, in which you must smoothly follow a flashlight or pencil with yourr eyes. Another is the walk and turn test, wherein you have to step heel-to-toe for a certain number of steps, then turn around and repeat the process, all while counting aloud.

Other examples of field sobriety tests include the stand-on-one-leg test, in which you are made to stand on one leg while counting aloud. You may also be asked to pick an object up from the ground. Finally, there is the Rhomberg Balance test, which requires that you: 

  • Stand erect
  • Tilt your head back
  • Close your eyes
  • Remain this way for 30 seconds 

In all of these field sobriety tests an officer is judging your motor skills and coordination. If you lose your balance, misspeak or show muscle spasms or trembling, then you may be charged with a Virginia DUI. But anyone, including you, may have failed a field sobriety test simply because of nervousness, imperfect balance, or even a medical condition. A good Virginia DUI defense attorney may be able to argue the validity of these field sobriety tests during your DUI trial.

Virginia DUI attorney Bob Battle aggressively defends criminal defendants who have been charged with felony crimes such as repeat DUI charges. For proven legal help with your criminal case, contact Bob Battle to schedule your legal consultation today - 804-673-5600.

Bob Battle
100% of my practice is devoted to serious traffic defense and criminal litigation in state and federal courts
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