Challenging Field Sobriety Tests in Maryland DWI Cases: Common Pitfalls and Defense Strategies

Law enforcement officers commonly administer field sobriety tests during DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) investigations in Maryland. These tests are designed to assess a driver's physical and cognitive abilities to determine if they are impaired by alcohol or drugs.

However, challenging field sobriety tests can be crucial to building a strong defense strategy. This blog post will explore some common pitfalls associated with field sobriety tests in Maryland DWI cases and discuss effective defense strategies.

Inadequate Officer Training

One common pitfall in field sobriety tests is the lack of proper training for law enforcement officers. It is essential to understand that officers must be adequately trained to administer these tests accurately. If an officer lacks the necessary training, it can significantly weaken the prosecution's case.


  • Ask the officer about their training and experience in administering field sobriety tests.
  • Consult with an experienced DWI defense attorney who can assess the officer's training and challenge its adequacy.

Flaws in Test Administration

Field sobriety tests require strict adherence to standardized procedures. Any deviation from these procedures can lead to inaccurate results. Common flaws in test administration include improper instructions, inadequate lighting conditions, and distractions at the test location.


  • Take note of any inconsistencies or deviations from the standardized procedures during the test.
  • Gather evidence, such as photographs or witness statements, to support your claim of flawed test administration.

Medical Conditions and Physical Limitations

Field sobriety tests assume that individuals being tested are in good health and have no physical limitations. However, certain medical conditions, injuries, or disabilities can affect a person's ability to perform these tests accurately. Identifying and presenting such conditions as part of your defense is crucial.


  • Inform the officer about medical conditions or physical limitations that may affect your performance.
  • Obtain medical documentation supporting your condition and its impact on your ability to perform the tests.

Lack of Standardization

Field sobriety tests are standardized for a reason – to ensure fairness and accuracy. However, variations in test administration, interpretation, and scoring can occur. These inconsistencies can be exploited to challenge the validity of the test results.


  • Request detailed information about the specific procedures followed during the test.
  • Consult with an experienced DWI defense attorney who can analyze the test results for any inconsistencies or deviations from the standardized procedures.

Video Evidence and Documentation

Law enforcement officers record field sobriety tests in many DWI cases through dashcams or body-worn cameras. Obtaining and analyzing this video evidence can be crucial in challenging the accuracy of the test results and identifying any procedural errors.


  • Request a copy of the video evidence as soon as possible.
  • Work with a skilled DWI defense attorney who can thoroughly review the video evidence and identify any discrepancies.

Challenging field sobriety tests in Maryland DWI cases require a comprehensive understanding of the legal nuances and effective defense strategies. At theĀ Law Offices of Maria Mena, we specialize in providing expert legal representation for individuals facing DWI charges. Our experienced attorneys deeply understand Maryland's DWI laws and can help you build a strong defense to protect your rights and interests.

Contact the Law Offices of Maria Mena today for a confidential consultation if you need assistance with challenging field sobriety tests or any other aspect of your DWI case!

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