If you violate a California traffic rule, an officer may pull your vehicle over. The officer may then inquire about your sobriety if he or she has a reasonable suspicion that you may have had a few too many drinks.
According to Alcohol.org, an officer may find evidence of intoxication if you consumed more than one drink per hour. To make a lawful arrest, however, the officer may need to conduct a field sobriety test.
What does a field sobriety test consist of?
A field sobriety test may include three portions. The officer may first hold an object up to your eyes to see if you can follow its moves or if your eyes start to jerk.
The officer may then ask you to take nine steps with your toes touching your other foot’s heel each time. Finally, the officer may ask you to stand on one leg. He or she may ask you to continue balancing on one foot for 30 seconds while you also count out loud.
Do field sobriety tests accurately prove intoxication?
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration researched these standardized tests for officers to use when deciding whether to arrest a motorist for DUI. According to the NHTSA, a driver who fails all three portions of a field sobriety test most likely has a blood alcohol content level higher than the legal limit of 0.08%.
A field sobriety test may not, however, accurately confirm that an individual operated a vehicle while intoxicated. Medications, disabilities or neurological ailments may result in false indications of intoxication.
If an officer has reason to believe intoxication caused you to break a traffic law, he or she may ask you to perform a field sobriety test. The results, however, may not always prove intoxication and the law entitles you to a defense if charged.