Why You Should Never Take a Field Sobriety Test

If you're pulled over by law enforcement for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), the officers will most likely ask you to take a field sobriety test. In this article, we'll talk about why you should never do so.

Exercise Your Right Not to Take Field Sobriety Test

It's important to remember that the goal of the officer is to collect as much evidence against you as possible. That's why it's crucial - even if you haven't been drinking - to leverage your right of refusal to decline to take a field sobriety test.

In fact, the Arizona Supreme Court recently ruled that police officers cannot tell you that taking part in field sobriety testing is mandated.

Field Sobriety Tests Are Set Up For You To Fail

The tests themselves are incredibly subjective. While blood and Breathalyzer tests are somewhat more accurate (and even they can be easily challenged in court), field sobriety tests are reliant upon the testimony of the officer.

Because of that, it's unlikely that you'll get a fair shake, even if you're completely sober.

Examining the Three Most Common Field Sobriety Tests & Their Accuracy

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus - also known as the "eye test"

Accuracy rate in ideal situations: 77%

The officer will ask you to follow a light - usually a penlight - using only your eyes. Specifically, the officer is watching for involuntary eye twitching, which can be caused by medical conditions that the officer is ill-equipped to determine.


Accuracy rate in ideal situations: 65%

For this test, you'll be instructed to count while standing on one leg. The officer is looking to see if you sway, hop or use your arms for balance. Persons who should never take part in this test include those who are:

  • Over 65-years-old;
  • More than 50 pounds overweight; and
  • Experiencing problems with inner ear balance or leg and back pain.

Walk and Turn

Accuracy rate in ideal situations: 66%

You'll be asked to take nine (9) heel-to-toe steps while remaining in a straight line before turning on one foot and doing the same thing in the opposite direction.

This one is tricky because a loss of balance, beginning the test before the instructions are completed, turning incorrectly or taking the wrong number of steps can easily result in a false DUI charge. Things that can raise the chances of being charged with DUI include

Bottom Line: Refuse to Take Field Sobriety Tests

Because of their subjectivity, there's really no good reason to submit to a field sobriety test. They are absolutely 100% voluntary.

Charged With a DUI? Call Alex Lane ASAP

There's no denying that Arizona has the toughest DUI laws in the land. That's why you need expert legal representation if you've been charged.

For a free consultation, contact the law offices of Alex Lane. Our number is 480-776-5757.

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