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3 Reasons You Can Fail a Field Sobriety Test Completely Sober

 Posted on April 13, 2022 in DWI

TX DUI lawyerTexas law prohibits individuals from operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If police officers see someone driving erratically, ignoring stop signals, or otherwise driving in an unsafe manner, the police may pull the person over and ask them to take a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests involve completing some type of physical task while officers watch for signs of alleged intoxication. While field sobriety tests are generally considered to be reliable methods of determining a driver’s intoxication, there are many different issues that can cause a sober person to fail a field sobriety test.

Obesity and Physical Health Problems

A significant portion of the population has a body mass index that puts them in the “obese” or “morbidly obese” category. For these individuals, completing field sobriety tests may be difficult or even impossible. The most common field sobriety tests include the one-leg stand, walk-and-turn test, and horizontal gaze nystagmus. The one-leg stand and walk-and-turn tests are supposed to assess the driver’s ability to balance. However, being significantly overweight or obese can make it much harder for people to balance and complete these tasks correctly.

Physical disabilities, medical problems, and injuries can also make it difficult to complete the task – even while sober. For example, someone who recently suffered a torn ACL may be unable to put weight on that foot because it is too painful.

Anxiety and Other Mental Health Problems

Many people suffer from anxiety, panic disorder, and other mental health issues that cause symptoms that may be mistaken for intoxication. Being pulled over by police and forced to complete a field sobriety test while bystanders gawk and stare would be unnerving for anyone - for anxiety sufferers, it can be unbearable. The driver may be sober but unable to fulfill the officer’s instructions without making mistakes.

Not Understanding the Police Officer’s Directions

Sometimes, failed sobriety tests are simply a matter of miscommunication. The suspect may not understand what he or she is asked to do. For example, the officer may ask the person to follow a pencil with his or her eyes and not move his or her head so the officer can check for horizontal gaze nystagmus – an involuntary shaking of the eyes indicative of intoxication. If the person is distracted or upset, he or she may not hear the instructions about keeping his or her head still.

Contact a Collin County DWI Defense Lawyer

There are many different reasons that a sober person can fail a field sobriety test. If you or a loved one were charged with driving while intoxicated after a field sobriety test, contact our Frisco DWI defense lawyers for help. Call Law Offices of Biederman & Burleson P.L.L.C. at 469-333-3333 for a free consultation.




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