Chad J. Vilushis - Grant C. Travis
DUI Penalties in PAPennsylvania DUI Attorney

Attorney Grant C. Travis
Attorney Chad J. Vilushis

Pennsylvania Drunk Driving Defense

100 State St. • Ste. 210 • Erie, PA • 16507
Call us: 814-455-3839Driving Directions
102 Lorna Lane • Edinboro, PA • 16412
Call us: 814-734-6076Driving Directions
400 Market Street • Warren, PA • 16365
Call us: 814-723-6120Driving Directions



Field Sobriety Tests: Are They Accurate?

There’s very little that’s scarier than seeing those flashing red and blue lights in your rearview mirror, especially if you’ve been drinking. In many states, even one drink is enough for some people to get slapped with a DUI (depending on body size, metabolism, and other factors). If you’re ever stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence, you may be asked to take one or more field sobriety tests. If you fail these, you may be asked to take a Breathalyzer test and/or be arrested.

Just how accurate are field sobriety tests? The accuracy varies from test to test, with the standard field sobriety tests (one leg stand, walk and turn, and horizontal gaze nystagmus tests) generally giving somewhat more accurate results than the myriad of nonstandard field sobriety tests.

Even standard field sobriety tests are far from definitive. According to the National Traffic Safety Administrations own training manuals, the tests are only about 65% accurate. The accuracy goes down considerably when dealing with people who are older, have certain medical conditions, or are significantly overweight.  The rate of accuracy is even worse for nonstandard field sobriety tests such as the finger to nose test, counting backwards, or modified position of attention tests.

The good news, should you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to take nonstandard or standard field sobriety tests is that a good lawyer can help ensure that the court will give you the benefit of any doubt regarding the findings of any field sobriety tests you have been asked to undergo. Since the doubt involved can be substantial (remember, even the best field sobriety tests are still less than 70% accurate), a good lawyer can make all the difference in how the court handles your case.

If you’ve been arrested for DUI because of the results of field sobriety tests, you may have a better case than you think. This is especially true if you didn’t also take a Breathalyzer test (though even the results of field Breathalyzer test can be disputed in some instances). Regardless of which kinds of field sobriety tests you submitted to, regardless of whether you were actually intoxicated or not, you will want to have the best legal representation you can afford (and you can afford a good lawyer much better than you can afford jail time).

The bottom line is that field sobriety tests, whether they are the standard field sobriety tests or others, do not give consistent, accurate information regarding whether a person is intoxicated and the level of intoxication. Because of this, their results can often be called into question in a court of law.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Northwestern Pennsylvania, especially if the charges against you depend on the results of field sobriety tests, you may be able to work out a favorable plea or have the charges dismissed. The DUI Defense Group of Travis, Vilushis, and McCormick can help you get the best possible outcome for your Pennsylvania DUI case.

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