When a Maryland police officer makes a traffic stop and asks a driver if he or she has been drinking, it typically means the officer already has a suspicion. Often, in this scenario, the officer asks the driver to step out of the vehicle and take field sobriety tests. The officer can place the driver under arrest when the test is failed. However, it may be surprising to know that a person can fail field sobriety tests even if he or she is sober.
Failing field sobriety tests
The Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST) used by law enforcement across the United States is made up of three separate tests. They are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the Walk And Turn and the One Leg Stand. Failing any of these tests is enough for a driver to be arrested. However, there are several reasons why these tests can be failed even when the individual is not intoxicated.
Certain pre-existing medical conditions may interfere with the person’s ability to follow instructions and balance, or their eye movements. These conditions commonly include injuries, illnesses, disabilities, anxiety, fatigue and language barriers. Also, environmental factors like uneven surfaces or unfavorable weather conditions can affect field sobriety tests. Before drivers submit to field sobriety tests, they should always inform police officers of any pre-existing conditions beforehand.
What to do after receiving a DUI
It is important for individuals to remember that being arrested or charged does not mean they are guilty of anything. Anyone in Maryland who is charged with DUI has the right to consult a legal representative who can help to defend against the formal accusations. An experienced and skilled attorney can examine a person’s specific situation and help them achieve the best possible outcome.