People often ask me if they should take or should have taken the “Field Sobriety Tests” after being stopped by the police. The short answer is that in most cases agreeing to take the field sobriety tests only helps the police and hurts you and your case.
Normally when the police ask you to take the Field Sobriety Tests they already have a strong suspicion that you are impaired. This may be due to your appearance, behavior, odor, slurred speech or admissions to drinking. The police are looking for more objective evidence and reasons to charge you with DUI of when they suspect your are impaired due to alcohol or drugs. The field sobriety test or “SFST’s” provide law enforcement with a series of tests for you to take to incriminate yourself. Remember, you have a constitutional right not to incriminate yourself. You may think you are totally sober, almost sober or skilled enough to pass these tests. I assure you, in almost all cases they will find some aspect of your performance that will count against you. Furthermore, they do not tell you how they are going to score the tests or how much each task is worth. Lastly there are no do overs.
Officer’s are only doing what they are trained to do which is detect and arrest those that they conclude are impaired drivers. Additionally, prosecutors will use the performance on the SFST’s or Field Sobriety Tests as evidence against you at trial. There is usually no upside to agreeing to the tests. You are simply providing an opening for the officer to build his case. Of course there are people who do “pass” and are sent on their way. However, it not a chance you normally want to take.
Each case is different so please don’t assume this applies to your case. I encourage everyone to speak to a lawyer right away if they are being investigated for DUI. The police sometimes have phonebooks in their cars or you can save my number 520-261-2576 into your cellphone.