DUI Field Sobriety Test

If you are pulled over and suspected of drinking and driving, there are a number of tests the police officer can administer to determine your level of intoxication. While chemical tests that check blood, urine, or breath require machines and/or medical equipment, one of the most frequently used tests is the Field Sobriety Test. Drivers who decline to take the Field Sobriety Test risk having the refusal be used against them both in the short-term (the refusal could give the officer probable cause to ask you to take a chemical test) and long-term (the refusal can work against you in court).

What Tasks Are Included In Field Sobriety Tests?

Field Sobriety Tests were created to demonstrate a driver’s level of cognitive function and coordination, both of which are diminished when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The test usually involves simple tasks such as standing on one leg or following a moving instrument with your eyes. If a driver fails to successfully complete any one of these tasks, law enforcement officers can consider it probable cause for your arrest or for you to take a chemical test.

The validity and reliability of Field Sobriety tests have been debated for years. Defense attorneys have been known to claim that the environment in which the test takes place, the physical health of the test taker and the judgment/experience level of the test administrator all give way to the possibility of a faulty result. However, they are still commonly used across the country as a preliminary way to test a driver suspected of DUI.

If you are facing a DUI charge based on a field sobriety test rather than a chemical test, you have a much greater chance of being able to defend it due to the lack of quantitative evidence. Hiring an experienced DUI attorney is very important, however, as they are educated on all the correct procedures that should have taken place at the time of the arrest. They will know if the officer made any kind of errors during the test.

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