What does it mean to fail field sobriety tests when arrested for DUI in Massachusetts?
You have received a copy of your Massachusetts OUI police report, and it says you failed. You panic. Don’t worry; there are several factors that can contribute to an officer claiming you failed field sobriety tests; in most cases when I look at the report, I will find you did very well.
Weather, medical conditions, and nerves can all impact your performance on field sobriety tests. Also, on almost all reports police officers will claim failure. What this failure means will vary from case to case.
“In about 75% of the police reports that I read, I find that the field sobriety tests help our case MORE than the Commonwealth.
This is based on my training in regards to how the exercises are suppose to be conducted, scored, and what the officer omitted in the police report”
First, a field sobriety test is based on the officer’s opinion, not on fact. Basically, the officer is stating that in his opinion, you did not follow his instructions. However, while the test may indicate a perceived inability to follow instructions, it may also indicate the police officer did not perform the test correctly.
Officers do not always follow their police training when administering field sobriety tests. This is often demonstrated on the report itself. For example, the police report may indicate that the officer didn’t follow his police training in administering the one leg stand or walk and turn test.
Read what our clients have to say about DelSignore Law:
“Excellent experience and results!”
“After our son was arrested and charged with an OUI first offense, we hired Attorney DelSignore to assist us in the daunting process. He showed care and compassion toward us, and took the time to explain the court process. He was an excellent choice; Attorney DelSignore knows the rules regarding OUI arrests and was able to effectively cross examine the officer. During cross examination, he highlighted the fact that the officer did not know the specifics of the field sobriety tests like he should have. By questioning the officer, he was able to cast a substantial amount of doubt on the subjectivity of the tests. My son was ultimately found not guilty! Mike is an expert, worth the money, and we would recommend him to all of our family and friends.”
- Client testimonial, November 2017
- Officers may be unaware of the number of clues they are scoring on each test. For example, the nine-step walk and turn has 8 clues. If the officer does not know this, they may score incorrectly.
- Officers require a motorist to hold their leg 6-8 inches off of the ground on the one leg stand. The test requires your leg to only be 6 inches off the ground. So, if you were aiming for 8, the officer made the test harder than it was intended to be.
- Officers unsure of how to judge a particular part of the test. For example, many officers do not know that a person does not have to literally touch their feet together when performing the walk and turn test, but only need to keep them 1⁄2 inch apart.
- Officers lack of police manual knowledge. Some officers admit they have not read the police manual and instead perform the test based only on their experiences as an officer.
In fact, many officers make field sobriety tests harder because they do not understand the correct scoring. Additionally, the police report will not reveal additional factors that may have contributed to your failure, such as:
- Weather conditions
- Medical conditions that make the exercise more difficult
- Exercises that were unfair because you were wearing improper shoes.
- Nerves: often your nerves will make performing exercises under pressure difficult
** Do not panic. Attorney DelSignore has successfully represented many clients with failed sobriety test results.Are field Sobriety Tests even useful to predict whether someone is under the influence of alcohol?
Often a case can still be won even if an officer claims you failed the field sobriety test. Additionally, it may be argued the test itself does not demonstrate anything worthwhile for the jury to even consider.Contact us today
When you contact DelSignore Law, we will be able to explain the field sobriety tests you routinely performed on the side of the road after your arrest. Contact us today for a free consultation.