Are Field Sobriety Tests Mandatory?


If you have ever been pulled over for a suspected DUI, you know it is an overwhelming and terrifying experience, regardless if you were drinking or not. When the officer approaches your car, he or she will ask you a number of questions and possibly ask you to perform a series of tests to determine if you are impaired. The tests you will be asked to perform are known as field sobriety tests (FSTs) and you may be wondering if they are mandatory. Continue reading to find out more about FSTs and your rights.

Know Your Rights

There are several different FSTs an officer may ask you to perform to determine your level of intoxication. However, only three of them are endorsed by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Below are the three tests endorsed by the NHTSA:

  • One-leg stand
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus
  • Walk-and-turn

If an officer asks you to perform these tests, he or she likely already believes you are intoxicated and is simply trying to build more evidence against you. You are not legally obligated to perform any of these tests, even if the officer leads you to believe that you are. That said, refusing to perform FSTs will not prevent the officer from arresting you, though it will lessen the amount of evidence against you.

Unlike a breath test, which you must submit to, refusing FSTs will not result in a revoked license or higher insurance rates. That is because implied consent laws do not apply to these tests. While you might still find yourself in some hot legal water even if you refuse these tests, it will minimize the prosecution’s case against you. Keep all of this in mind next time an officer suspects that you have been driving while under the influence of alcohol.

If you were arrested for a DUI and performed the FSTs, all hope is not lost. With an experienced DUI defense attorney on your side, you can still defeat or reduce the charges against you. However, you must not postpone it any longer. The sooner you get help, the better your chances will be.

Discuss the Details of Your DUI Case with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today!

If you were arrested for a DUI, Julia E. Stovall Attorney at Law can provide the knowledgeable guidance and fierce legal representation you need to protect your rights, freedom, and your future. We understand how difficult it is to be in this situation and will do everything possible to ease your burdens and stress. Backed by more than two decades of experience and a history of successful results, you can feel confident that you will receive the most favorable results for your case when you choose to work with our team.

Do not hesitate to secure the skilled legal help you need. Contact our law office today at (615) 239-1374 to set up a free initial consultation with our trusted DUI defense attorney and learn more about what we can do for you!