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Did I pass the field sobriety test?

 

A: Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) are not really “tests” in the way we usually think of “tests.” The real goal of FSTs is not really meant to determine whether you are drunk or not—it is to make you appear drunk. It might surprise you that most people, sober or otherwise, “fail” these tests. Whether you pass or fail is based totally on the officer’s personal observations and impressions. Remember, these tests are entirely subjective—they do not conclusively determine whether you are drunk or not. Also keep in mind that the officer asked you to take field sobriety tests—which, as you remember, are designed to make you fail—because he suspects that you were driving while intoxicated. He is going to be looking for evidence that you broke the law, not alternative explanations for your behavior. There are a number of other factors that influence how you do on these tests, having nothing at all to do with alcohol. How even the pavement is, whether it is gravel or concrete, the volume of traffic passing by (which will likely slow down to stare at you), the amount of lighting available, and the weather (you could be shaking because you are cold, not intoxicated, for example)—all of these things impact how you do on a field sobriety test. In addition, your physical condition may affect the results, whether you are overweight, elderly, or have physical impairments of your limbs, back, or eyes. Even the type of shoes you are wearing might affect the test. Finally, you are probably very nervous, humiliated, angry, and tired. The important thing to keep in mind, no matter what kind of field sobriety test you take and no matter how you think you did, an experienced defense attorney will know how to ensure that you are not convicted simply because of the police officer’s personal opinion.