You may be someone who rarely or never indulges in drinking alcohol. You may have various reasons for this decision, or you may simply not like to drink alcohol. You are not alone in this decision, and because you certainly would never get behind the wheel after even an occasional alcoholic beverage, you may think that you would never face a DUI charge.
This assumption may not be as correct as you think. Many drivers may consider themselves sober only to have police officers stop their vehicles for one reason or another and suspect the drivers of drinking and driving. You could wind up in this particular situation yourself, and an officer may ask you to participate in field sobriety tests.
When a police officer seems suspicious of you, you may immediately begin to sweat. Even if you have done nothing wrong, the traffic stop itself could have your anxiety and adrenaline through the roof. As a result, you may want to comply with every request made by the officer because you do not want to seem uncooperative. However, when it comes to field sobriety tests, you may want to think twice before participating.
Types of tests
Commonly, authorities utilize three types of field sobriety tests in efforts to determine whether a person may be impaired, as follows:
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus test involves an officer having you follow an object with only your eyes to determine whether any excessive jerky eye movement occurs, which commonly affects impaired individuals.
- The one-leg stand test involves an officer having you stand on one leg for approximately 30 seconds to check your balance.
- The walk-and-turn test would involve you walking heel-to-toe for several steps before turning and coming back, again to check balance and ability.
As you may already suspect, these tests are relatively subjective. You may naturally have bad balance, or simply being nervous may cause you to perform the tests badly. Nonetheless, if you do participate in the tests and the officer is not satisfied, you could face charges for DUI.
Refusing the tests
You may think that an officer will consider you a hindrance if you refuse to take the field sobriety tests. However, you have a right to refuse. You may want to remember, though, that the refusal may not prevent the officer from taking you into custody and charging you with DUI. If this takes place, you may want to begin looking for information on your criminal defense options.