If a police officer asks you to take a field sobriety test, there is likely a good reason. A mere whiff of alcohol on your breath is enough to give them reason to suspect the presence of alcohol in your body and to require you to undergo a screening test. These suspicions may also arise from the discovery of alcohol bottles in your vehicle or when you admit that you consumed alcohol during the day, whether leaving a bar or your own home. Erratic driving may also indicate that you have recently used alcohol. Finally, a slow gait or speech, as well as glassy or bloodshot eyes, may give them the right to ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test.
What is a police field sobriety test?
When police have reason to suspect that you have consumed alcohol while driving or have been in care or control of a vehicle, they may require you to submit to immediate field sobriety tests. These tests include several elements that are analyzed by the police. For example, they may ask you to walk on an imaginary straight line, put your head back or put your arms in a cross. They may also ask you to touch the tip of your nose with your index finger, pick up a coin from the ground and even recite the alphabet.
The agent must test your coordination promptly
These field sobriety tests are conducted on the roadside immediately after the vehicle is stopped by peace officers since, by law, they must be administered as soon as possible. If these tests cannot be done immediately, then agents must take reasonable steps to ensure that you can contact your lawyer. They also have a duty to check whether there is a realistic possibility for you to exercise this right.
The importance of cooperating with and passing these sobriety tests
Passing the requested police tests is crucial. Indeed, failing some of these tests almost automatically turns police suspicions into reasonable grounds to believe that you have been driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both. At this stage, they will be entitled to arrest you and order you to follow them to the station to give you a breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol level.
It is worth noting that if you refuse to perform the tests requested by peace officers, you are liable to a fine of $200 to $300 under the Highway Safety Code, in addition to a possible charge of refusing to comply with an order or obstructing the work of the police.
Is the police field sobriety test legitimate or not?
Police officers conduct field sobriety tests when they have suspicions against you. The consequences in such circumstances are sometimes significant. When you are stopped for impaired driving, the police obviously have a duty to administer these tests. However, if you are concerned that your constitutional rights may have been violated as a result of such tests, please contact us. Our team of criminal lawyers will help you.