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Do I Have to Do Field Sobriety Tests and The Five Reasons You Should Refuse to Take Them

Nov. 21, 2016

Field Sobriety Tests are not mandatory. You are allowed to refuse to perform the tests. In fact, it is almost always a good idea to refuse to do the tests. Here are several reason you should not perform field sobriety tests:

1. The Tests Might Not Be Captured on Camera

Even if the officer tells you that he has a body camera of a dash camera on his police cruiser, there is no guarantee the camera is working or will be working when you try to obtain video footage of the field sobriety tests. I can experienced many cases where the officer had a camera but for one reason or another, the camera did not capture the field sobriety tests. Without a camera, you are relying on the officer's word against yours.

2. You Have No Idea how The Tests Are Scored

Try asking an officer how the field sobriety tests are scored when he asks whether you'd like to take them. It's a quick and easy way to determine whether the tests are fair. If the officer explains in detail how the tests are scored, you can start to have confidence that the tests are fair. But you will find, however, that officer will never tell you how the tests are scored. Imagine being asked to take test that will be used against you in court, but not being allowed to know the rules of the test.

3. the Tests Are Junk Science

Officers are trained to believe that the tests are supported by scientific research. That is misleading. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration higher a researcher to determine which field sobriety tests were the most useful. Her research is an embarrassment and has never been published in any scientific peer-reviewed journals,

4. Even if You're Not Intoxicated, You Might Perform Poorly on The Tests

Most people will struggle to stand on one foot with the other foot held six inches off the ground in front of you without using your arms for balance. Many people will struggle to remember all the instructions for the 9 step walk and turn test. Many people have medical conditions that will cause the officer to report a failure of the HGN test. The best way to deal with the tests is to decline to take them.

5. You Have No Obligation to Provide More Evidence Against Yourself

When they ask you to take field sobriety tests, the officers will phrase the request in a way that makes it seems like no big deal. They will usually say something like, “Will you perform a few tests so that I can make sure that you're okay to drive?” Phrased in that way, it seems like you're only being asked to show that you're okay to drive. But do you remember ever being asked by someone at the DMV whether you could stand on one foot for 30 seconds before they gave you your driver's license. Did they ask you to walk in a straight, imaginary line? Of course not. The purpose of the tests is to provide evidence to use against you in court, not to determine whether you're okay to drive.