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You can be sober and still fail sobriety tests

On Behalf of | Nov 4, 2023 | Criminal Defense

You are likely aware that it is not only very dangerous to drive while impaired, but it is also against the law in Texas. Law enforcement agencies across the state do a fantastic job of keeping roads safe and catching drunk drivers. However, many people do not know that you can still face arrest for driving while impaired (DWI) even when intoxication is not a factor. The police arresting you and charging you for a crime you did not commit is a scenario that no person wants to face.  

If law enforcement pulls you over and the officer suspects that you are impaired, he or she will likely administer a few field sobriety tests to determine whether impairment is involved. Yet, it is possible for a driver to be completely sober and fail these sobriety tests. In fact, nearly a third of sober people who take field sobriety tests ultimately fail. Unfortunately, failing a field sobriety test can result in police arresting you and taking you into custody. Here are a few things that could cause a sober person to fail sobriety tests 

The tests are subjective 

Field sobriety tests are often subjective, meaning the officer who administers the tests is responsible for grading them. Studies have shown that officers who observe and grade the same individual who takes the same tests sometimes disagree about the scores. It is possible that you can pass sobriety tests with one officer but fail with another officer. 

Personal biases 

As stated previously, officers who administer field sobriety tests are responsible for grading them. If you are not impaired but the officer suspects that you are, this assumption can influence the officer’s grading of your tests. If you insist to the police that you are not under the influence, it can backfire and cause them to be even more suspicious. Police can use everything that you say and do against you. 

Conditions can be a factor 

When an officer pulls you over and asks you to take sobriety tests, the conditions are never ideal. For example, noisy traffic may be passing close by, it may be dark, the road surface may be uneven, and not to mention you will likely be scared and nervous. Following directions in this type of situation can be very difficult. The conditions under which an officer administers the test can lead to failed field sobriety tests. 

Help is available 

Medical conditions, disabilities, officer bias and less-than-ideal test environments are just a few things that can cause you to fail sobriety tests and face arrest. It is important to remember that even if the police arrest you, it does not mean that you are guilty of anything. However, an arrest could mean that you’ll be facing a battle while you try to prove your innocence. Fortunately, if you find yourself in a situation like this, you can consult legal representation to help you defend against DWI charges.