Colorado law enforcement officers commonly use field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) to determine if a person is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While FSTs can provide evidence of impairment, the results are not always accurate and can be challenged in court.
Understanding sobriety test limitations
FSTs are designed to test a person’s physical abilities and coordination, but they are not foolproof. Factors such as age, weight, physical health and shoes can all impact a person’s test performance, leading to inaccurate results. In addition, officers may administer the tests improperly or may not consider other factors that could affect the results, such as weather conditions or the surface on which the tests are conducted.
It is possible to challenge the results of FSTs by showing that the tests were administered incorrectly. For example, if the officer did not follow the standard instructions for administering the tests, the results may be unreliable. Additionally, the results may be inaccurate if the officer did not properly calibrate the equipment used to administer the tests.
Alternative reasons for performance on test
Third, it is possible to challenge the results by presenting alternative explanations for a person’s test performance. For example, a person’s poor performance on the tests may be due to a physical disability, such as a bad back or balance problem, rather than impairment from drugs or alcohol.
Questioning test reliability
Another strategy is to challenge the reliability and validity of the FSTs as a whole. Many scientific studies have questioned the accuracy of field sobriety tests, and some experts have concluded that they are not a reliable indicator of determining a DUI.
Challenging field sobriety test results
Challenging field sobriety test results can be a complex process that requires a thorough understanding of the tests and their limitations. If you have been charged with a DUI and believe that the results of your FSTs may be flawed, it is important to formulate a strategy to navigate the legal process.