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Why You Should Never Take Field Sobriety Tests

police officer pointing to road to a woman

When stopped for suspected DUI, you may be asked to take a series of field sobriety tests. While you may be confident in your ability to pass these tests or feel that you are required to comply, Schneider Lerch Bronston, LLC is here to explain why you should always say no to taking field sobriety tests.

What Are Field Sobriety Tests?

Many people are familiar with breathalyzer tests, but less so with physical field sobriety tests. The three standardized field sobriety tests include:

  • The Walk and Turn Test: The driver is required to walk heel-to-toe in a straight line.
  • The One-Leg Stand Test: The driver is required to balance on one leg for about 30 seconds.
  • The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test: The driver must follow a moving object with just their eyes.

During these tests, the police officer will be looking for signs of impairment, including:

  • The driver not following the verbal instructions
  • Lack of balance
  • Lack of coordination
  • Shaky, red, or otherwise unusual appearance of the eyes

Why You Should Refuse to Take These Tests

They Provide Evidence for DUI Less Safe

A driver may be charged with DUI less safe if they are under the legal limit, but the police officer still believes that alcohol or drugs in their system have impaired their ability to drive. Some of the primary evidence for these charges comes from field sobriety tests. You provide the officer with more evidence to use against you by taking these tests.

They’re Not Required with Implied Consent

Most people are aware that refusing to take a breathalyzer test can result in driver’s license suspension. However, field sobriety tests do not come with this same consequence. There is absolutely no penalty for refusing to take field sobriety tests.

Some people believe that even though they aren’t required, refusing to take the tests will make them seem guilty, and they will be arrested anyway. However, this is not necessarily the case. If the officer finds other grounds to arrest you, it’s still beneficial that they do not have field sobriety test evidence to reference in your case.

Sober People Fail Too

If you’re sober, you may think that there’s no harm in taking these tests to prove it. Unfortunately, sober people frequently fail these tests. This is because the factors used to evaluate drivers in these tests are not exclusive signs of intoxication. For example, someone may have poor balance but this does not automatically mean that their poor balance is due to alcohol impairment.

Individuals may fail these tests if they:

  • Have underlying medical conditions affecting balance
  • Take medications that affect coordination
  • Are wearing uncomfortable footwear
  • Take these tests on uneven roads
  • Misunderstood the officer’s instructions

Police Officers Are Already Suspicious

If you’re being asked to take field sobriety tests, the police officer is already suspicious that you are under the influence. This will make them more likely to pick up on any behavior that would confirm their beliefs and give them probable cause to make an arrest.

How To Refuse These Tests

Many people, whether they are breaking the law or not, become nervous when interacting with the police. This makes people more likely to comply with everything the officer asks them to do or say. However, you should not do this. There are ways to refuse field sobriety tests without escalating the situation.

  • Be polite to the officer; avoid hostility
  • Be clear, concise, and firm when you say you will not take field sobriety tests
  • If the officer continues to push for you to take the tests, you may choose to calmly state that you are not required by law to take these tests

Savannah, Georgia DUI Defense

If you’ve been charged with DUI following chemical or field sobriety tests, contact our DUI defense team at Schneider Lerch Bronston, LLC. We know how to combat police evidence and fight for our clients to reach positive outcomes. Discuss the details of your case with our team today– click here to schedule an initial consultation.

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