The results from field sobriety tests and breath tests used in a drunk driving investigation are not always 100-percent accurate.
It is no secret that the state of California cracks down hard on drivers who operate vehicles while intoxicated. Certainly, this makes sense as the facts are clear that when drunk, a person is unable to appropriately maneuver a vehicle or make the right decisions to keep people safe.
However, this does not mean that a driver who has been stopped by officers has no rights. It also does not mean that every driver accused of drunk driving is guilty.
During the defense process, officers generally collect different types of evidence to support their claim that a driver is in fact drunk. Understanding this data and how the results of the tests they use may be inaccurate is important for anyone facing a driving under the influence charge.
Problems with field sobriety tests
In most cases, the first type of test that a person will be asked to participate in is something generally referred to as a field sobriety test. Many people assume this is step one in proving they are drunk. However, as FieldSobrietyTests.org explains, that is not the case.
A field sobriety test is only designed to show that a person might be drunk. This in turn may provide the officer with the amount of evidence they need to legally place the driver under arrest.
There are three field sobriety tests standardized for use by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. None of these tests is fully accurate. The test that measures an involuntary jerking motion of the eye has the greatest accuracy rate and that is only 77 percent. The lowest accuracy rate of the three is for the one-leg stand test at 65 percent.
Physical health conditions ranging from joint problems or injuries to obesity and anxiety may all contribute to a person’s inability to effectively pass these tests.
Problems with breath tests
A breath test is commonly used to identify the amount of alcohol in a person’s system. BAC track, a manufacturer of these devices, indicates that things like paint fumes in the air or even mouthwash used by the driver may all interfere with the readings. Human error, inaccurate device calibration and software malfunctions may also contribute to false positive results of a breath test.
Protect your rights
Knowing that the means of collecting evidence against a driver as well as the stated evidence itself may be faulty might provide an opportunity for people charged with DUIs in California. Drivers in this position should always consult with an attorney for help with their defense.