Non-Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Mon Jul 2012
A few of the field sobriety tests used by officers after pulling over a driver on suspicion of a DWI are standardized in terms of the way in which they are administered and the results are interpreted. Many are not. Three such non-standardized tests are the handwriting test, the hand pat test, and the picking up coins test. All three use hand coordination to allegedly determine intoxication level.
In the handwriting test, the officer has the individual suspected of drunk driving write something and then decides whether or not the handwriting looks as if it was produced by an individual who was intoxicated. The problem with this test is that, even in cases where the assessor of the handwriting has seen samples of sober handwriting from the tested individual, it is very difficult to asses whether differences in handwriting are attributable to alcohol intake.
In the hand pat test, the individual is asked to move his or her hands in a certain way at increasing speed until instructed to stop. Because it is difficult even for unimpaired individuals to perform this action, the test seems designed for failure. A more rarely used test involves the subject using one hand to pick up coins that have been placed on a flat surface. As with the hand pat test, this is not necessarily an accurate indicator of intoxication.
If you are facing DWI charges, fill out the form for a free consultation with experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer Dan T. Matrafajlo, who can help you to determine whether the evidence against you, including field test results, is valid.