Are You Required To Take Field Sobriety Tests?

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If police pull you over because they suspect you of drunk driving, they may ask you to perform a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are done roadside and are used so law enforcement can determine if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These tests are largely misunderstood and if you take them, you could be giving law enforcement more evidence to use against you. Below, our Monroe criminal defense lawyer explains what you should know about field sobriety tests.

Types of Field Sobriety Tests

There are three field sobriety tests that are considered standard and that law enforcement may use when trying to form probable cause. The three tests are as follows:

  • The one-leg stand test: The one-leg stand test requires you to exit your vehicle, stand on one leg, and perform another very basic task, such as counting to a certain number or reciting the alphabet. The officer will watch you to determine your level of coordination, and your ability to focus on more than one task at a time.
  • The walk-and-turn test: During this test, an officer will ask you to take a certain number of steps. They will then ask you to turn and walk the same amount of steps back. The officer will watch to determine if you are walking steadily, if you can remember instructions, and if you are relying on your arms for balance.
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus: The officer will hold a small object inches away from your face during this test. They will move it back and forth and ask you to follow it with your eyes. The officer will watch to determine if you can follow the item without your eye involuntarily jerking.

Should You Take a Field Sobriety Test?

Unlike Louisiana’s implied consent law, which requires you to submit to a chemical test, you are under no legal obligation to submit to a field sobriety test. In fact, doing so may only hurt your case, as it will give law enforcement and the prosecution more evidence to use against you.

Field sobriety tests are not scientific and they are rarely accurate unless they are performed by the strict standards set out by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration’s officer training. Police officers will use their own discretion to determine if you pass these tests and more often than not, they will determine someone failed. Many times, that is not even true. Even though field sobriety test results can be accurate when they are administered correctly, many police officers do not administer the tests correctly in the field and may be suppressed at trial.

Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Monroe Will Protect Your Rights

If you have been charged with drunk driving after failing a field sobriety test, our Monroe criminal defense lawyer at Whiddon Criminal Defense can help with your case. Our seasoned attorney knows how to challenge the results and get them thrown out of court so you have a better chance of retaining your freedom. Call us now at 318-594-3592 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.

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