Refusing Field Sobriety Tests

Refusing Field Sobriety Tests

If you are pulled over for a DUI, you have most likely already demonstrated suspicious driving behavior that would lead a police officer to believe that you are impaired. During your conversation with the police officer, you may exhibit further signs of impairment which could lead the officer to ask you to exit the car to perform a series of field sobriety tests. The purpose of these field sobriety tests is to give an officer probable cause to arrest you for driving under the influence (DUI). The standard tests are the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg stand.

Can you refuse to take these tests?

Field sobriety tests are entirely voluntary. A police officer cannot require you to take the tests. There are no additional penalties for refusing to take the tests. The field sobriety tests only provide the State with additional evidence to use against you. Regardless of how you perform on the test, the State will find a way to use that evidence against you. The officer may promise that he will let you drive away if you pass the tests. Remember that the results of these tests are subjective and if a police officer believes that you’ve been drinking they will always say that you “failed” the field sobriety tests.

Why should you refuse to take the tests?

You should refuse any request by police to take a field sobriety test. You may still be arrested, but there will be no failed field sobriety tests to use against you. Even if you’re sober, there are some factors that can adversely affect your performance on a field sobriety test.

  • Anxiety–you’re standing on the side of a possibly busy road with a police officer treating you like a criminal; it’s normal to be anxious and not perform your best under the circumstances.
  • Weather conditions–wind, extreme temperatures, a slippery surface, and rain can all be factors that lead to imbalance during the test.
  • Footwear–high heels, flip-flops, and other non-athletic shoes can hinder your balance.
  • Health–the most likely cause of an inability to correctly perform a field sobriety test is a pre-existing health condition such as an injury, vision problems, a cold, allergies, or medication. Being older or significantly overweight can also affect your performance.

Contact an experienced Maryland DUI attorney

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI or DWI, you need an experienced attorney on your side. At Alpert Schreyer, LLC, our attorneys will work hard to get you the best possible outcome. Contact us online or call us at 866-444-6363 for a free consultation.

About Dianne Freed