How Reliable are Georgia Field Sobriety Tests?

Posted by Richard Lawson | Sep 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

Many times when I speak with clients about their arrests for DUI in Georgia, they explain to me how the investigating officer asked them to submit to field sobriety tests. Nine times out of ten, an officer will ask for field sobriety tests if he or she suspects a driver of driving under the influence.

There are three field sobriety tests that are standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These tests can help officers to spot whether or not a person is under the influence of alcohol.

However, as a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I am very aware of the issues and problems that exist with not only the administration of field sobriety tests but also with the results of these tests as well. In today's post I will outline the different tests as well as some of the common factors that can negatively influence one's performance on the tests themselves.

Georgia Field Sobriety Tests

Georgia Field Sobriety Tests are good indicators that a person has been drinking - however, just like any other method or theory, there are limitations to each of the tests. The three standardized field sobriety tests include:

  1. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
  2. The Walk and Turn Test
  3. The One Leg Stand Test

These tests are considered standardized. But there is something to point out.. These tests cannot be counted on if a person has certain characteristics or attributes that make the tests result in false positives. These factors can actually cause poor performance and result in DUI arrest. These factors include

  • Inability to balance
  • Injury
  • Heavier weight
  • Stockier body composition
  • Natural eye nystagmus
  • Speech impediment
  • Pregnancy
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Old age
  • Nervousness
  • Physical conditions, etc.

Any one or a few of these combined together could cause you to perform in such a way that you fail the test, even though you were not intoxicated. The sad reality is that some officers (not all) refuse to take these factors into consideration when investigating someone for driving under the influence.

Practice Note

Attacking the validity of field sobriety tests is just one avenue utilized by a Georgia DUI Defense Attorney. There are many other Georgia DUI Defenses that can apply to unjust case.

Contact our offices today if you or a loved one has been arrested. We can help you now.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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Georgia DUI Defense Attorneys

At the Law Office of Richard S. Lawson, we have offices conveniently located throughout metro Atlanta and throughout Georgia. If we do not have a convenient office, we will come to you. We practice throughout Metro Atlanta and North Georgia. If your case is in an area we do not serve, we will find you an attorney in your area free of charge. Our office is part of a State-wide network of Georgia DUI Lawyers. Contact us 24/7 for immediate legal help. Our attorneys are standing by. Your DUI Case will not defend itself. Your Best Georgia DUI Defense Begins Here!