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Field sobriety tests are imperfect and lead to erroneous arrests

Field sobriety tests are assessments of drivers' balance and coordination. Florida law enforcement officials administer them when those officers believe that drivers may be operating their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol. Such tests generally require individuals to stand on one leg, walk in a straight line and follow a moving point with their eyes.

While alcohol can affect a driver's performance on these assessments, there are a number of other factors that can play into how well a driver does when asked to step out of their vehicle. A driver's level of exhaustion may influence their ability to balance and focus on a coordination assessment, as might any medical conditions.

It is even possible for the road conditions on which the driver is asked to walk or balance to affect how well the driver performs on the tests. Bumping, sloping and uneven roads and shoulders can cause otherwise unaffected drivers to sway, lose their steps or fall, despite their sobriety.

Evidence obtained through field sobriety tests can provide law enforcement officials with the probable cause they need to make DUI and drunk driving arrests. As such, the facts of every DUI and drunk driving case are important to evaluate after being arrested with an alcohol-related driving offense.

Criminal defense attorneys who provide DUI defense strategy services can help their clients assess the extenuating factors that may have contributed to the field sobriety testing failures and provide them with defenses to the evidence law enforcement officials produce at their trials. Since no two DUI cases are the same, readers are asked to seek their own legal guidance, rather than using the general information provided in this post as advice.

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