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Field Sobriety Tests

What is the importance of field sobriety tests when arrested for OUI?

Field Sobriety tests are the roadside balancing and coordination tests that police officers administer to determine whether to arrest someone for OUI/DUI/DWI in Massachusetts. In most cases, if an officer requires you to take field sobriety tests, the officer has already determined that you will be arrested and is using the field sobriety tests to gather more information to support the arrest. In Massachusetts, you are under no legal obligation to take field sobriety tests and can refuse the tests without any adverse consequences. A refusal to take field sobriety tests cannot be admitted into evidence at your trial for OUI.

However, I usually find that Field Sobriety Tests help your case!

There are many ways that we can contest the field sobriety test’s result and challenge the officer’s conclusion that you failed these tests:


Your physical conditions (weight, age, medical conditions) make performance difficult under any circumstance, Weather conditions,

Showing that the tests were administered or scored unfairly, Or that they were given under unfair conditions on the side of the road.

There are three field sobriety tests that are considered standardized and have been studied by the federal government. These three tests are the:

Field Sobriety Tests
Field Sobriety Tests
Field Sobriety Tests

How Can These Tests Benefit Your Case?

When given under ideal conditions, The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration studies have demonstrated that these tests have minimal reliability. The Nine Step Walk and Turn was deemed 68% reliable to determine a blood alcohol content of over .10, according to the original study. The One Leg Stand test had a 65% reliability rate the Horizontal Gaze test a 71% reliability rate. To read more about each of the three tests, methods to attack them and clues officers look for you can click on the following link.

Those statistics alone are enough to prove that these tests cannot be reliable in determining if someone is under the influence. I have won many cases arguing against the reliability of these, along with other tactics I employ to add doubt to whether or not these tests can be trusted.

If you have a question as to whether the field sobriety tests were properly administered in your case, what the defenses are regarding the administration of those tests and what challenges to the fairness and accuracy of the results, please call me at 781-686-5924 or 508-455-4755 to discuss your case. I would be glad to answer any questions you have regarding a Massachusetts OUI charge and field sobriety tests.

Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog - Field Sobriety Testing