Once an officer gets a Wisconsin driver out of his car, it can be tough for that driver to refuse to submit to field sobriety testing. The battery of coordination and memory tests that the officer may impose on the driver can rattle the concentration of even the most sober individuals. As a result, officers can make mistakes in their assessments of suspected drunk drivers and charge individuals who consumed no alcohol before their traffic stops with drunk driving charges.
An article provided by the Michigan Bar Association offers an interesting assessment of the many ways that individuals can be falsely accused of drunk driving based on their field sobriety tests. For example, the authors of the article found a credible study that suggested officers make mistakes in administering one of the most common sobriety tests and that those errors occur in nearly 95% of all cases. They also found that individuals affected by age, medical conditions and mobility issues can struggle with sobriety tests due to their diminished physical capacities to perform.
When officers fail to use standardized practices in administering tests they can easily make mistakes in finding evidence of driver intoxication. Additionally, when they treat all drivers the same and fail to recognize the physical disabilities of some individuals they impose unrealistic expectations on people who cannot successfully perform sobriety tests even when completely sober.
Evidence of these officer errors can be used at trial to prove that an individual was wrongly accused of drunk driving. It is permissible to challenge the validity of sobriety testing and DUI attorneys can help their clients demonstrate that given the totality of the circumstances their sobriety testing results were skewed. Though a driver may choose not to challenge the use of field sobriety tests at the time of his arrest, he can always call those tests into question after he has had a chance to prepare his drunk driving defense.