If you are pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving, you will be asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests. The accuracy of these tests is debatable. However, the prosecution will often use the results of these tests to strengthen its case.

Does this mean that if you fail the tests, you have no choice but to plead guilty? Not necessarily. People may fail these tests for any number of reasons, and not because they are under the influence.

Common reasons for failing a field sobriety test

Officers perform field sobriety tests in accordance with a manual put out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Some of the reasons people perform poorly on a field sobriety test may include:

  • A medical condition
  • Physical disabilities
  • Injuries
  • Age
  • Effects of prescription medications

While officers may ask if there is any reason why a test may be difficult to perform, they can still use the results as an excuse to place you under arrest.

I performed poorly. Now what?

Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty. Your performance on a field sobriety test will not result in an automatic guilty verdict. You can always provide a defense against DUI allegations.

You may be able to show that you performed poorly because of a preexisting condition. You can attack the reliability of the tests. You can also raise other defenses. Perhaps the Breathalyzer test was improperly administered. You should discuss your situation with a skilled professional who can help you explore your available options.

Don’t despair if you failed a field sobriety test

If you failed a field sobriety test, it is not the end of the road. You may be able to present an effective defense that can help get your charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense.