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January 5, 2011

Are DUI field sobriety tests required?

Filed under: DUI,DWI — Josh Blumenreich @ 10:53 am
The horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which asks subjects to follow an object (such as a pen) with their eyes, is one of several tests used by officers roadside during DUI stops to test for drunk driving.

The horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which asks subjects to follow an object (such as a pen) with their eyes, is one of several tests used by officers roadside during DUI stops to test for drunk driving.

If you are stopped on suspicion of a DUI, the officer stopping you is likely to ask you to perform a battery of field sobriety tests. These mental and physical tests, which can include asking you to say the alphabet backwards, touch your finger to your nose or stand on one leg, are used to determine roadside whether or not you are too impaired to drive. In case you are stopped, keep in mind that field sobriety tests are voluntary, and it is within your legal right, not to mention in your best interest, to politely refuse.

Studies have shown that field sobriety tests can be inaccurate in determining whether or not a suspect is too inebriated to drive legally. People with certain medical conditions or injuries, elderly people and people who are seriously overweight often cannot pass standard field sobriety tests, sober or not. Moreover, test performance is often subjective, meaning whether you pass or fail is up to the officer conducting the test. Think twice before submitting to field sobriety tests. Performing poorly on these tests may provide the probable cause for your arrest and even be used against you in court.

If you are facing DUI charges, a skilled Arizona DUI lawyer such as Josh Blumenreich can advise you on the best next steps. For a free initial consultation about DUI or other criminal charges, please contact us today.

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