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Failing Field Sobriety Tests

Top 10 Reasons Why People "Fail" the FST - Field Sobriety Tests

There are many absolutely legitimate reasons why you may have failed the field sobriety tests given to you at the side of the road by the police in Kansas. These are reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with you being drunk. These tests are given to people in situations where it is impossible for them to pass, and where they are administered incorrectly and unfairly. A few examples of this are:

The test is administered incorrectly - As a DUI defense lawyer, I have reviewed hundreds of police videos. While the police are trained to administer the FST's, they often do it incorrectly. Yes, this impacts the tests results. In fact, the manual for administering the field sobriety tests says, "If any one of the standardized field sobriety test elements is changed, the validity is compromised." (Taken from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration manual.)

Improper Conditions - The officer's training manual requiresthings like a straight line (not an imaginary line) and appropriate conditions. Police officers make the mistake frequently of not providing appropriate conditions for the field sobriety tests, which is why it is critical for your DUI defense attorney to thoroughly research your specific situation.

Bad Back - Similarly, if you have back problems, performing these tests and exercises can be difficult under any circumstances. Therefore, the results are not scientifically meaningful or have anything to do with impaired driving.

Bad Knees - If you have knee problems knees, it can be difficult to complete the one leg stand or the walk and turn test. The officer is supposed to inquire as to any have any medical condition that would prevent a DUI suspect from performing these exercises. However, they often either forget or simply refuse to inquire.

Overweight - According to the officers training manuals used in Kansas police training, being overweight can mean that you are not a candidate for field sobriety tests.

Elderly - According to the officers training manual, you are not a candidate for this FST's if you are 65 years old or over.

Nervousness - The stakes are high. If you fail the officer's FST's, you will be arrested! Nervousness can be a huge factor in performing these tests. This is something the jury should be made aware of.

The tests themselves are confusing - Remember, the officers have been through these tests a hundred times. Hopefully, your DUI lawyer has been over these tests even more than the officer who arrested you. In fact, as a DUI defense attorney, I have probably more training than most police officers. But the typical DUI suspect is NOT familiar with these tests, which are confusing and ambiguous. The interesting thing is, the officer's manual even says, "Tests that are difficult for a sober subject to perform have little or no evidentiary value." Wow!

The tests have NOTHING to do with your ability to drive - Even if these tests are administered perfectly, under the best conditions, the officer manual says that the Walk and Turn Results show an accurate correlation with having a BAC of .10 or above only 68% of the time. It's only 65% of the time for the one leg stand. WHen you combine one of these with the inadmissible HGN test, it results in a correlation of 80%. A correlation of 80% is simply not proof beyond a reasonable doubt by any legal standard.

Tired - Often, DUI investigations occur late at night when the suspect is tired. Your ability to perform physical tests of agility and balance is certainly diminished if you are tired. This can be a reasonable explanation as to why a persons fails the officers tests. Also, this can explain the other officer's potential observations such as blood shot or watery eyes.

Call our Kansas Law Firm to speak with an experienced DUI defense lawyer. We strive to provide top notch legal representation for our clients accused of drunk-driving. Our experienced DUI criminal defense attorneys will do everything to protect your rights.

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