It is a scenario that many drivers in Ohio, as well as across the country, may face at least once in their lives. On your way home from work or a social event, a police officer pulls you over for a minor traffic violation. The police officer suspects you may have had too much to drink before driving, and asks you to perform a field sobriety test. No big deal, you think. You only had a small glass of wine an hour ago at dinner, and you have no doubt about how you will fare on the test.
However, as you start to follow the officer’s instructions, you find that passing a field sobriety test is not as easy as you had thought. You are becoming increasingly worried that the officer will arrest you for drunk driving. What might cause you to fail a field sobriety test while sober? The following scenarios could be ones you might experience:
- You naturally do not have very good balance, which makes it difficult to walk in a straight line or balance on one foot during the one-leg stand.
- You could be recovering from an illness or suffering from an injury that limits your mobility or makes it difficult to walk.
- Maybe you have a speech impediment or cognitive issues that do not negatively affect your driving but sound to an officer as if you are drunk.
- Fatigue or allergies could make your eyes red and puffy, which an officer might mistake as signs that you have had too much to drink.
- The officer might smell the remnants of alcohol on your breath or on your clothing, despite the alcohol having left your system. You might have recently used a breath spray that has the slight scent of alcohol.
- Your surroundings might contribute to your general sense of nervousness and anxiety about the test. For example, the noise and lights of traffic rushing past as you try to perform the test could be frightening and affect your ability to understand and follow instructions.
Some studies have shown that standardized field sobriety tests are not as accurate as authorities believe. In fact, there are those who believe these tests are designed to fail. It is important that you understand your rights when it comes to defending your innocence.