Police officers who suspect someone of driving after having too much to drink will usually conduct two different kinds of tests. Chemical tests can detect the presence of alcohol or drugs in the body. Field sobriety tests help check someone for signs of impairment in cognition or motor function.
While you can’t prepare ahead of time for a chemical test, some people think that they can practice certain skills while drinking and then later call upon that practice to pass a field sobriety test during a traffic stop. Is that really possible?
Not all of the impairment tests are something you can prepare for
Two of the standard field sobriety tests involve motor skills that people could practice in different mental states. Walking carefully and turning while under the influence can be difficult, but you can train your body to do this well even with high levels of alcohol in your bloodstream. The same might be true of the one-leg stand test.
However, you cannot train your body to trick the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. An officer will ask you to follow a light or their finger from side to side, and they will monitor your eyes for an involuntary muscular twitch. This twitch sometimes occurs on its own but becomes exaggerated when someone is under the influence of alcohol.
A field sobriety test is often only part of an impaired driving traffic stop. Police officers are trained to spot signs of impairment, no matter how much someone tries to hide them. If you are arrested for drunk driving, it’s essential to know what your legal rights are.