Whether you are under the influence or not, a field sobriety test can be intimidating. Field sobriety tests are notorious for making drivers look silly. They are difficult to pass, even if a driver is completely sober. Standing on one leg, performing a walk and turn, and following a pen with your eyes are the three most common field sobriety tests. Despite their infamous inaccuracy, officers in Glendale still often ask drivers to perform these tests at DUI stops. In case this happens to you, here’s what to do.
Refuse to Take the Test
First, know that it is entirely within your rights to refuse to take a field sobriety test. In most cases, these tests are voluntary, not mandatory. To conduct this type of test, the officer needs your cooperation. Refusing to take a field sobriety test is not the same as refusing to take a blood, urine, or breath DUI test. Arizona’s implied consent laws only apply to chemical tests, not to field tests. You will not automatically lose your driver’s license for refusing a field sobriety test. Since these tests are often unfair and subjective, it’s a good idea to refuse to take them – even if you’re sober.
Don’t Say Anything
As you might have heard before during television arrests, you have the right to remain silent. You have this right even prior to arrest, during the initial stop and questioning. Politely tell the officer you’d be happy to answer his or her questions, but only once you have an attorney present. If you can, use hand signals, nods, or the written word to communicate with the officer. Otherwise, the officer can say you have slurred speech no matter how you talk and allege that he or she smelled alcohol on your breath. Stay silent during a field sobriety test, as the officer can and will use anything you say against you in a hearing.
Follow Instructions Exactly
In the event that you submit to a field sobriety test, or that the officer says it’s mandatory, the first rule to remember is to obey the officer’s commands word for word. One of the DUI cues police look for is whether or not you can obey basic commands. The inability to understand and follow basic commands can be “proof” of DUI, even if doing so stems from something like a hearing problem. Do your best to listen closely to what the officer asks of you and to comply without complaint.
Avoid Red Flags for Intoxication
Police officers receive training to look for signs that a driver is under the influence. This is why it’s best to refuse field sobriety tests, to give them as few opportunities as possible to “detect” these cues – whether they actually exist or not. If you do say yes to a test, it helps to know what red flags will catch the officer’s attention. Try not to flutter your eyes or blink excessively. Cooperate with the officer, and again, try to remain silent. Do your best to maintain your balance during field tests. Don’t let your nerves or anxiety get the best of you. If the officer still suspects DUI, keep in mind that field sobriety tests are not hard evidence. A good lawyer can often get the courts to throw out the results of these unreliable tests.