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Can a sober person fail a field sobriety test?

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If you get pulled over and you are asked to perform a field sobriety test, you might assume that if you hadn’t had anything to drink, you have nothing to worry about. However, you and other Nebraska residents should understand what a field sobriety test entails, which could shed light on how you might fail one of these tests, despite being sober.

According to FindLaw, the standardized field sobriety test consists of a battery of actions you would be asked to perform by the roadside. These tests were designed to give law enforcement officers a clue as to whether drivers are intoxicated. They consist of the one-leg stand, the walk-and-turn and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Additionally, officers would be looking for physical signs of impairment, such as red eyes, halting speech, alcohol on the breath and difficulty walking.

How might you fail these tests, you might wonder? It may be easier to fail a field sobriety test than you think. For example, if you have an ear infection or an inner ear problem, you could experience dizziness and difficulty balancing, making it difficult to stand on one foot or walk in a straight line. If you have a nervous stutter or a speech impediment, an officer might mistake this for a drunken slur. The red, puffy eyes you have from allergies or fatigue might be seen as a sign you drank too much. If you are injured or have a joint or muscle condition, your mobility restrictions might also be mistaken for intoxication.

An arrest after failing a field sobriety test requires experienced counsel. Therefore, this information should not replace the advice of a lawyer.

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Monzón, Guerra & Associates, Attorneys at Law
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