What You Didn't Know About Field Sobriety Tests

Being pulled over by law enforcement for suspicion of driving under the influence can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you are not entirely certain what your rights are in this scenario. In fact, many individuals do not know what their rights are when it comes to field sobriety tests and what they truly mean.

In order to protect your rights, read on to learn more about field sobriety tests and how they might impact a DUI case against you:

  1. Field sobriety tests are NOT mandatory: Many are familiar with or have heard of “implied consent” laws, which essentially mean that you cannot refuse a breath test without experiencing some potentially serious consequences. Field sobriety tests, on the other hand, are actually optional and you have the right to decline or participate in them. That said, just because you refuse an officer’s request to take a field sobriety test does not mean he or she will not be able to establish probable cause and arrest you anyway. It simply means that you do not have to assist them in building up any evidence that might harm your case.
  2. The officer does not have to offer it to you: In some cases, an officer might stop and arrest you right away, without asking you to track their finger or to perform any other field sobriety test. Law enforcement officers do not always need to take the extra steps to establish probable cause in a DUI case if there is enough evidence present to suggest you are driving drunk. They can arrest you right on the spot.
  3. Not all field sobriety tests are approved: There are actually only three of these tests that are approved. They include the walk-and-turn test, the one-leg stand test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. All other field sobriety tests that might have contributed to your arrest are likely inaccurate and lead to false conclusions, which could have resulted in an unlawful arrest.
  4. Field sobriety tests are generally inaccurate: Despite the fact that these tests are standardized, field sobriety tests are still prone to confirmation bias and other types of human error, which ultimately lead to results that are unreliable. According to a study conducted by the NHTSA and Southern California Research Institute, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which is the most accurate among these tests, was only successful 77% of the time. To put that number into perspective, it means that an error occurs in a little over one out of every five tests.

Ultimately, field sobriety tests are designed to make both sober and intoxicated individuals appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Instead of engaging in these inaccurate tests, politely refuse to partake in them. You might still get arrested, but the truth is that an officer who asks you to perform these tests has already decided to arrest you.

DUI Attorney in Seminole County

If you are facing DUI charges in Seminole County, you need to act quickly to protect your rights and safeguard your future. At The Law Office of David A. Webster, P.A., our team of criminal defense attorneys have been aggressively representing individuals in DUI cases for over 30 years. You can be confident in our ability to obtain the most favorable outcome for your case.

Choose to work with a firm that is known and trusted in the community. Call us today at (407) 326-0650 to schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable member of our legal team. Too much is at stake to go through this alone.