Joseph J. Colarusso, Attorney at Law
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How accurate are field sobriety tests?

Have you recently been arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Connecticut? Whether this experience is your first brush with the law or not, it can be a scary and uncertain time for you. Understanding the opportunities you might have for a defense against the charges you face can be very important at this time. One opportunity may well involve the field sobriety tests used during the arrest process.

FieldSobrietyTests.org explains that there are three types of field sobriety tests sanctioned for use by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If all three tests are used, the estimated rate of accuracy for them together is only 82 percent. Individually, each test has an even lower rate of accuracy.

The eye test that measures an involuntary jerking motion of the eyeball that is said to be more pronounced after a person has consumed alcohol is the most accurate of the three at 77 percent. The test that requires you to walk in a heel-to-toe fashion while counting has an accuracy rate of 68 percent and the test that requires you to maintain perfect balance on one leg with no use of your arms is 65-percent accurate. Your ability to pass these tests may be inhibited by factors  that have nothing to do with alcohol such as inner ear infections, joint problems, weight and more.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to provide Connecticut residents an overview of the level of reliability associated with the three different standardized field sobriety tests used in drunk driving arrests.

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