SPELLMAN LAW, P.C.
Based In West Des Moines, Iowa, Practicing In Central
Iowa And Throughout The State Of Iowa
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Motorists should question the credibility of field sobriety tests

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2020 | Drunk Driving |

Motorists coming home from the bar may feel anxious if police stop them. In some cases, it doesn’t matter if you’re not impaired or below the legal limit; an officer may still choose to charge you with an OWI.

Many have started to question how authorities determine someone “too drunk to drive.” As the use of breathalyzers have come under scrutiny in recent years, so have field sobriety tests.

Understanding field sobriety tests

Since the early 1980s, local authorities across the country have used specific voluntary criteria to determine whether someone is driving under the influence. The examination typically has three portions. Often, it includes having you:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test
  • Walk and Turn test
  • One Leg Stand test

In Iowa, you have the right to refuse any or all field sobriety tests. If the officer feels you’re impaired, he or she may still arrest you regardless. If that’s the case, an officer will request additional testing once at the police station, jail or place of detention. 

Test may not be as objective as initially thought

Although these tests have helped convict guilty drunk drivers, some officials are still questioning a field sobriety examination’s credibility.

That’s because you could still fail the test, even if you’re not impaired. Some of those reasons include:

  • You became anxious during police presence, causing you to slip up on your performance.
  • You have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from completing the test correctly.
  • The officer does not want to let you off the hook because they run the risk of embarrassment if they’re wrong.

Your life shouldn’t be negatively affected because of inaccurate results

Receiving an OWI can come with strict penalties in Iowa. Regardless of whether you have a criminal history or not, state prosecutors typically vehemently pursue OWI prosecutions. Luckily, Iowans charged with an OWI have options available for aggressive legal representation.