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Can I Refuse a Field Sobriety Test?

Just about everyone knows that law enforcement may subject you to several tests if you are pulled over for DUI. Though these tests may seem mandatory, the fact of the matter is that they may not be.

Standard field sobriety tests include the following:

  • The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test

In this test, the officer may ask you to look at a pen or other object that is held close to your face. As they move the object from side to side, they will tell you to keep your eyes focused on that item. If eye movement is jerky, they may take that as evidence of intoxication.

  • The Walk-and-Turn Test

In this test, the officer will ask you to take a number of steps in a straight line with one foot placed directly in front of the other. Then, the officer will ask you to pivot and walk back in the same manner. If your balance is off, the officer may use that as evidence of intoxication.

  • The One-Leg Stand Test

In this test, the officer will ask you to stand in front of him or her and proceed to lift one leg off of the ground, typically for 30 seconds. If you are not able to complete this or your balance seems particularly off, the officer may use that as evidence of intoxication.

You may be thinking – I can’t do that on a good day or I have an eye problem that causes my eyes to move irregularly! These tests are not 100% accurate and have been proven to be faulty in many cases.

So, does it make more sense to just refuse to take a field sobriety test in the first place?

Refusing a Field Sobriety Test – The Right Way

Depending on your circumstances, it might be a good idea to politely refuse to take a field sobriety test. Although you are legally required to get out of your vehicle if the officer requires it, you may state that you would like to refrain from performing a field sobriety test. This is not legally required of you.

Remember these things when you are asked to perform a field sobriety test:

  1. Be polite and respectful. If you are belligerent or disrespectful, law enforcement may conclude that you have something to hide. Comply with their demands as much as possible without incriminating yourself.
  2. It is not legally required of you. If the officer has probable cause to obtain a warrant against you, they might do it anyway. By taking the test, you are probably just giving them more “evidence” against you.

Speak with an Experienced Santa Rosa DUI Attorney!

If you have been charged with a DUI, there is no better way to handle the situation than to reach out to a skilled DUI lawyer. With dedicated legal help on your side, you can work to fight your charges and rest assured that your rights will be upheld throughout case proceedings.

Contact the Law Office of Evan E. Zelig today for more information.