Authorities in New York may use the results of field sobriety tests as justification for taking drivers into custody for drunk or impaired driving. However, you will have an opportunity to challenge those results as part of your defense against a DUI charge. Equipment issues or officer errors may be sufficient grounds to have test results suppressed before or during a trial.
How equipment issues may skew results
If a Breathalyzer machine is improperly calibrated, it may falsely indicate that your blood alcohol level is higher than the legal limit. A Breathalyzer machine may also yield an inaccurate result if you have consumed pasta sauce, mouthwash or other items that might have some sort of alcohol in them. In some cases, even wearing cologne can cause an elevated reading.
A lack of training may complicate matters
An officer who has not been trained to use a Breathalyzer machine or to conduct other field sobriety tests may administer them incorrectly. At a minimum, this may call into doubt the accuracy of these tests, and in some cases, it may render them meaningless altogether.
A medical condition may influence test results
If you have a sore hip, leg or foot, it may make it difficult or impossible to stand on one leg for any amount of time. If you have a speech impediment, it may make it hard to communicate without sounding like you are slurring your words. If an officer fails to take a physical or mental health condition into account when determining your level of impairment, you may be charged with DUI even if you haven’t done nothing wrong.
If you are convicted of DUI, you may spend time in jail or prison, pay a fine and face other penalties. A conviction may also make it harder to obtain a job, rent a home or obtain a student loan. However, successfully challenging the evidence used to charge you with this crime may weaken the state’s case enough to have it dropped before the matter goes to trial.