Field Sobriety Tests…What You Need to Know

If you are ever pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, you’ll likely be asked by the police officer to perform a series of field sobriety tests. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people don’t know that they can refuse to take field sobriety tests in most states (in fact, it’s usually a good idea to refuse to do so).

What Are The Most Common Field Sobriety Tests?

To put it simply, field sobriety tests are designed for you to fail. They’re subjective, inaccurate, and often performed incorrectly by officers.

While there are a variety of field sobriety tests, the most common and widely used are the:

  1. Horizontal gaze nystagmus test (in which the officer asks you to follow a moving pen with your eyes while keeping your head still)
  2. Walk-and-turn test
  3. One-leg stand test

Some of the inherent problems with these tests include the possibility that the person asked to perform the tests may be too old or out of shape to “pass” them, the terrain or even the types of shoes the person is wearing can affect balance tests, the officer may give unclear instructions regarding the tests, and ultimately, because of the subjectivity involved, the officer can rely on his or her own scoring method to guarantee failure.

As mentioned above, your best bet is to refuse to take field sobriety tests. However, if you do submit to the tests and are subsequently charged with a DUI/DWI because of them, you should contact an experienced DUI lawyer to mount a vigorous defense against the results.

Take Action

If you have been charged with a crime, you should speak with a criminal defense lawyer.  Please contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden at 907-771-9002 for honest, relentless representation.  You can also visit our Frequently Asked Questions page or this Blog for more information. 

Ben Crittenden
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Passionately devoted to advancing his trial techniques and communication skills on behalf of injured victims.
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