Law enforcement officers in North Carolina watch for signs that a driver is impaired to give them probable cause to pull a vehicle to the side of the road. If an officer pulls you over, suspecting that you have been drinking, he or she may administer the standard field sobriety tests. The legal team at The Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett knows that these tests often provide faulty evidence.
Officers should be thoroughly trained in how to administer the three roadside tests. They should know that you could have a medical condition that would prevent you from successfully completing the walk-and-turn test and the one-leg stand test. Many health conditions affect balance. An officer should also be aware of the many reasons other than alcohol impairment that your eyes may involuntarily jerk when you track a moving object from side to side during the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Medications are often the culprit rather than alcohol.
According to AAA, research indicates that nearly one in 10 of those drivers who officers identify as alcohol impaired are not, in spite of the positive test results. Even though there is such a large margin of error, you may find yourself arrested and facing a DUI charge because officers have a considerable amount of discretion in interpreting the outcome. Still, they must be able to show the court that they are trained and skilled in both administering the test and interpreting the results before they can proceed as an expert witness against you.
More information about defense options for positive standard field sobriety test results is available on our webpage.