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Are field sobriety tests accurate?

Police officers in Oregon need specific evidence that a person has been drinking and driving in order to bring driving under the influence charges. There are a variety of different tests that Oregon police officers can use in order to get this information. One test that is often used is the field sobriety test.

During a field sobriety test, a police officer performs three different tests on the suspected drunk driver. The first is the horizontal gaze nystagmus. This measures the amount of eye-movement and jerking that is seen when a person moves their eyes back-and-forth. There is also the one leg stand and the walk and turn tests. These tests are supposed to be uniformly administered to accurately predict whether or not a person's blood alcohol content level is above the legal limit of .08 percent.

However, in reality the results are not always accurate. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, police are not 100-percent accurate in determining whether or not a person is legally drunk when they perform a field sobriety test. In fact, tests show that police officers are nowhere near this accurate.

When a person's BAC level was between .04 percent and .08 percent, police were only accurate in administering and predicting the BAC level in 80 percent of the cases. When a driver had a BAC level of .08 percent, police were only accurate in 91 percent of the cases. For people with BAC levels higher than .08 percent, police were accurate in between 90 and 94 percent of the cases.

As this data shows, not every field sobriety test is accurately administered or understood. Police can make mistakes that lead to false charges against individuals in Oregon. When people have been arrested for DUI, they should understand their legal rights. There may be options for fighting the charges. For specific legal advice about DUI charges and field sobriety tests in Oregon, individuals should speak with an attorney.

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