Answer: The best way to challenge a field sobriety test is to challenge the training the officer has had, or lack thereof. There are a lot of officers out on the street that tend to make up their own field sobriety tests. The problem with the field sobriety tests is that when they’re trained, they’re given very specific instructions and very specific training.
However, when they get out in the field, the training that they observed or that they were taught to do, some of it is not possible, in that they are trained, officers are trained and the tests are actually designed in a laboratory-type setting, where it was a controlled setting—it was an indoor, well-lit area. And you just show how taking that and then taking it out into the real world, there’s no way to comply with those rules. That’s how you attack it. Because they want to claim that these are validated, that they’re accurate every time type stuff, but then they don’t do the test the same way every time.
You show the inconsistencies in the administration of the tests. And the SFSTs or the field sobriety tests are actually called the “standardized” field sobriety tests—they’re standardized because they’re supposed to be used from coast to coast, border to border by any officer and get the same results. The problem is, you have officers out there that either add to or take away from the tests, don’t do them in the right order; the tests are, while they’re supposed to be standardized, they’re not administered in a standardized fashion.
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