You may have heard about how people in Virginia might have to perform certain tests if a law enforcement officer suspects they were driving while drunk. These are called field sobriety tests because they take place in the field where a stop occurs and they aim to determine at a rudimentary level a person’s level of sobriety. However, as FieldSobrietyTests.org indicates, these test cannot conclusively identify a person’s blood alcohol content.

In fact, a field sobriety test cannot actually indicate whether or not a person is in fact intoxicated. All these tests can do is suggest that there is enough evidence to support that a person may be intoxicated. Based upon that informaiton, an officer may have enough evidence to support making an arrest. The tests used are far from foolproof. The one-leg stand test, for example, is said to have an accuracy rate of only 65 percent.

This test requires that you balance perfectly on one foot until instructed to stop. You cannot move your arms away from your sides and you must count exactly as instructed by officers. Your physical condition and even medical issues may hinder your ability to pass this test. Also, if you are likely to be nervous because you know you might be arrested, this could also compromise your ability to balance well. 

If you would like to learn more about the field sobriety tests used in a drunk driving stop and arrest process, please feel free to visit the impaired driver testing page of our Virginia criminal defense website.