DUI Field Sobriety Tests
Field Sobriety Tests are a battery of preliminary roadside test that police administer to detect DUI drivers. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed to these roadside tests to be used in early detection of DUI impaired, and DWI drivers. Police officers are formally trained and accredited to administer the tests. They are conducted on the roadside at a DUI stop. The police must have a motorist’s consent of the driver in order to administer them, because they are not mandatory in Arizona.
Standard Field Sobriety Tests
Police officers have been known to conduct other DUI sobriety tests. However, NHTSA has only approved three official FSTs, known as Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST):
1. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN);
2. The Walk-and-Turn;
3. The One-Leg Stand.
If any other FSTs were conducted, outside of the SFSTs, your criminal defense attorney can move to have the results suppressed, so the results cannot be admitted as evidence against a suspect.
Consequences of Refusing Field Sobriety Testing in Scottsdale AZ
A driver stopped for DUI investigation, has the right to refuse the FSTs since they are not mandatory in Arizona. However, persons should be aware, that there are consequences of refusal. If you refuse the FST and the police feel they have other “probable cause” to make a DUI arrest, the may proceed with arresting someone on “suspicion of DUI”.
Why You Should Refuse to Take FSTs
Most attorneys will advise you to politely refuse to participate in any Field Sobriety Testing. You have a constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination. In most cases these roadside tests will not serve to help a suspect’s defense, whether they are driving impaired due to alcohol or drugs or unimpaired. There are many reasons for this:
• Historically, and statistically, even the Standard FSTs have proven inaccurate;
• The FSTs are administered, judged, and graded unilaterally by police officer who is trying to arrest you, often resulting in bias or non-objectivity of results;
• Many people unimpaired by alcohol or drugs cannot pass the roadside tests. If the suspect fails, it can be used as evidence against them, even if they were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
• NHTSA rules have strict guidelines regarding instructions and administration of the test; environmental factors; lighting; clothing; landscaping; traffic conditions; candidacy of persons taking it that relate to age, weight, medical conditions and more. If strict guidelines are not followed, the tests results may be invalid;
• They are generally used as evidence against a person and rarely if ever help their defense;
If you have taken or refused a field sobriety test and been arrested for DUI, you should always consult an experienced criminal defense attorney regarding your charges and defense options.