Wyatt Hardy, PLC

Criminal, Family and Probate Law

Wyatt Hardy, PLC

Criminal, Family and Probate Law


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Are you required to take field sobriety tests?

On Behalf of | Aug 12, 2022 | Criminal Defense

If the police pull you over under the suspicion of driving while intoxicated, they will likely ask you to submit to a series of field sobriety tests.

The purpose is to establish evidence to support their suspicion. However, these tests can be seriously flawed.

What are the most common field sobriety tests?

There are three common field sobriety tests:

  1. The walk and turn test requires you to stand in front of a real or imagined straight line and take steps in a heel-to-toe formation. You will then turn and walk back in the same position.
  2. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test requires you to follow an object with your eyes without turning your head or body.
  3. The one-leg stand test requires you to balance your body weight on one leg with the other foot raised 10 inches off the ground.

The tests have a standardized procedure, but it is somewhat up to the officer’s discretion to grade you on them.

Can you refuse?

You can refuse to participate in field sobriety tests. In fact, most attorneys would advise you to do so for a number of reasons.

How do chemical tests differ?

Chemical tests use breath, blood, urine or saliva to measure blood-alcohol levels. Police can administer a breath test on the scene, but like the field sobriety tests, you can and likely should refuse. Although, you will have to submit to it later.

Keep in mind that refusing a chemical or field sobriety test will probably still result in your arrest. However, an arrest does not equal a conviction.