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Field sobriety tests may not be enough to support OVI conviction

Being accused of drunk driving might put you on edge. That’s understandable given what’s at stake. A conviction for operating a vehicle while intoxicated can result in serious penalties. You might be jailed, forced to pay a fine, required to give up your license for a significant period of time, and even mandated to implement an ignition interlock device on your car. All of these penalties can negatively impact your life, but they can also have tremendous ripple effects, damaging your employment, living situation, and reputation.

Therefore, you need to be prepared to protect yourself as best as possible if accused of drunk driving. Depending on the facts of your case, there might be a number of ways for you to go about your criminal defense. In many instances, motorists refuse to provide a breath or blood sample for testing purposes, which then leaves officer observations and field sobriety test results as the sole justification for OVI charges. So, you need to consider the best way to attack those observations and test results.

Field sobriety tests are far from fail-proof. Take the one-leg stand as an example. This test requires you to lift your leg six inches off of the ground with your arms outstretched. You are then required to look at your raised foot and count until an officer instructs you to stop. The officer who is administering the test will look for a number of factors that he or she deems signs of intoxication, including any hopping on your foot, swaying, swinging your arms, or putting your raised foot down. The office will also look to see if you are able to understand basic instructions.

As you can probably see here, the results of this test are entirely dependent upon how the test is administered and observed by a police officer. The test itself is pretty subjective in nature, which leaves the door open for legal argument. So, if you’re facing drunk driving charges based on the results of field sobriety tests, then you should think about whether you can successfully challenge the prosecution’s evidence to obtain a favorable result.