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Do you have to take a field sobriety test?

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2022 | DUI |

If police suspect someone is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then they may be inclined to pull the driver over and perform a series of tests. Typically, people believe that they’ll be tested with a breathalyzer test, which evaluates a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) – a BAC of 0.08% or higher is considered unlawful and can lead to a DUI charge.

Alternatively, police may ask the driver to perform standardized field sobriety tests (SFST). What are SFTSs? Here’s what you should know:

4 kinds of field sobriety tests are in common use

If the police ask a driver to perform an SFTS then they’ll likely use one of three commonly used tests:

  • Horizontal gaze test: police will ask the suspect to focus on a single point with just their eyes.
  • Walk-and-turn test: police will ask the suspect to walk in a straight line, turn and walk back.
  • One-legged stand test: police will ask the suspect to stand on one leg for a short duration of time

Alternatively, police may use a non-standardized field sobriety test. These kinds of tests aren’t regulated.

You aren’t required by law to take these tests

All of these tests are, at best, highly inaccurate. Police have to use their judgment to determine if someone is inebriated or under the use of drugs. Medical conditions or anxiety may cause a suspect to fail a test.

Because of this, people aren’t required to take SFSTs. Someone you know may be wrongly charged with a DUI because of an inaccurate test.