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Should I Perform Field Sobriety Tests?

Jan. 31, 2018

People often ask this question when they meet an attorney. There is no straight forward answer to this question, but having some insight into why the Officer is requesting you to perform the tests and what he is looking for may help you to confidently answer the question yourself.

First, the Officer has asked you to perform a few Field Sobriety Tests because he already suspects that you are intoxicated. The purpose of having you perform these tests is to help the Officer gather additional evidence of intoxication for use against you in court. In other words, if you perform the tests then you are assisting the Officer in building a more solid case against you.

Secondly, the tests the Officer will instruct you to perform are designed to divide your attention among physical and mental tasks, thereby increasing the odds that you will make mistakes. Even minor mistakes can cost you.

The purpose of Field Sobriety Tests is to help the Officer build a more solid DUI case against you.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has approved three field sobriety tests, commonly referred to as the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST). They are: 1) the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test; 2) the Walk-and-Turn test; and 3) the One-Leg-Stand test.

It has been argued, and research suggests, that the SFSTs are designed for failure. A sober person could fail the Walk-and-Turn test or the One-Leg-Stand test for any number of reasons, including preexisting injuries and/or medical conditions, unfamiliarity with the tests, exhaustion, etc., or even due to the Officer's own failure in either properly instructing the suspect or the Officer's own subjective grading of the performance.

Remember, you are fully within your rights to decline tests or answer any questions.

Chances are good that if an Officer has requested you to submit to field sobriety tests, then your arrest is already a foregone conclusion in the Officer's mind. Attempting to perform the tests will only provide the Officer with additional evidence to be used against you in court. Unless you are in excellent physical shape, have not been drinking and are well rested, then you may want to consider how you respond to the Officer's request.

Ultimately, it is your choice whether to perform the tests or not. Drinking and driving should be avoided at all costs, but if you find yourself being arrested for a DUI then contact an experienced DUI Defense Attorney to guide you through the process and insure that you get the best outcome in court. Our experienced DUI lawyers can assist you in fighting your charges. Contact Anthony Bretz today to set up a free consultation.

*The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.