Field sobriety tests are given by law enforcement to individuals that have been stopped and are accused of driving under the influence. These tests assist police officers in verifying whether or not an individual may actually be under the influence. Laws vary from state to state, but in some states, you can refuse a field sobriety test. Much like what you say or do can be used against you in the court of law, so can the results of a field sobriety test.
When you or someone you know is pulled over, an officer may ask you to take a field sobriety test. A field sobriety test consists of different things that an officer may ask you to complete to ensure that you are or are not sober, such as:
Walk-and turn test. You would be asked to take nine steps carefully in a straight line and turn on one foot.
One-leg stand test. It seems pretty self-explanatory, but you are asked to lift one foot a few inches from the ground and stand balanced for 30 seconds.
Horizontal gaze nystagmus. Law enforcement will pay close attention to your eye gaze by placing an object within your sight and asking that you follow this item.
Being unable to turn without a misstep, or stand on one leg without wobbling, or simply follow an object that is placed in front of you would cause an officer to believe you are in fact under the influence of some drug or alcohol. Because these tests have proven over 75% accuracy, they are often used in DUI cases.
If you are asked and refuse a field sobriety test, this does not entirely mean you will be arrested. You have a right to refuse and ask that you speak to your attorney. However, just because a refusal does not mean you will be under arrest, it does not mean you will be free to go. If the officer has reason to believe that you are in fact under the influence of some drug or alcohol despite your refusal of a field sobriety test, you may be asked to take a more specific test—such as breathalyzer, or a blood and/or urine test.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI and has refused a field sobriety test, speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney, like one from the Lynch Law Group, immediately so that your rights are not overlooked and you have a better understanding of what happens next.