If the police stop you when driving, they might ask you to take a field sobriety test. If you are unaware of your rights, you may think you need to comply.
You do not. A field sobriety test is entirely optional. What’s more, even if you figure you have nothing to be afraid of, it is typically best to refuse.
Here is why:
You could easily fail one even if you have not drunk a drop of alcohol
There are three standard field sobriety tests:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus: You need to follow the officer’s finger, light, or pen that they hold up and move around in front of your face. They decide whether you pass or fail based on your eye movements which is clearly subjective.
- Walk and turn: You must walk heel to toe along one of the lines painted on the road. As easy as it seems to walk in a straight line, we can all wobble, especially if nervous.
- One-legged stand: If you do a lot of yoga, then balancing on one leg for 30 seconds may be simple. Yet it is not for most people.
Many things could make you fail these tests aside from your nerves. For example, you might have a weak leg, an eye problem, or a terrible sense of balance. Alternatively, you might get them wrong because you did not understand what the police told you to do.
If you fail, you make it more likely the police will arrest you for drunk driving. If it is already too late, there may be ways to challenge it. Consider legal help to find out more.