You may have been pulled over under the suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). You provided the attending officer with all your information and have even been pleasant. The officer finally asked you to step out of the car and perform a field sobriety test.
You may seem confused about why you have to go through so much when accused of DUI. So what are field sobriety tests, and do you have to do them? Here’s what you should know:
Field sobriety tests can be weighed against you
A field sobriety test is an action you have to perform to see if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The officer might ask you to do a:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus test: This test is done to see if any anomalies might prove you are DUI. This test is mostly done by having the officer move an object from side to side as you keep your eyes on it. This test can easily fail if you have any visual disabilities, caffeine in your system or are sleep deprived.
- Walk-and-run test: This test asks you to walk in a straight line forward and back. The officer is looking to see if you stumble while you walk or any other noticeable indicators of alcohol or drug influence. You may have a limp or injured foot that might make it hard to pass this test.
- A one-leg stand test: An officer might prove you’re under the influence by testing your balance. You may be asked to stand on one leg and hold your position for several seconds. Age, natural unbalance or joint issues can make it difficult to do this test.
Just because you were asked to do a field sobriety test, doesn’t mean you are legally required to do it. A field sobriety test is, at best, an educated guess done by untrained officers. There is no official science behind field sobriety tests — and no legal requirement for you to comply, so politely decline the request.
If you’ve been charged with DUI then you may need legal guidance that can help explore a defense.