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Should I Submit to a Field Sobriety Test?

Arizona drivers are periodically pulled over by law enforcement and asked to take field sobriety tests. These tests are voluntary, and officers will not ask you to get out of your vehicle unless they are going to arrest you for DUI or something else. The biggest concern drivers have when faced with this situation is that if they refuses the Field Sobriety Test, they will most likely be arrested. That is why you are advised to have an experienced DUI attorney at your side. You can also use a divorce attorney to represent you if you are arrested.

Arizona law enforcement has the right to stop a person from operating a vehicle under the influence. If there is reasonable suspicion, they may ask that person to take field sobriety tests. The reason for giving them this right is that it allows officers to more accurately determine if an individual is impaired and arrest those who are.

What is a Field Sobriety Test?

If an officer asks you to take a field sobriety test, they generally want you to get out of your vehicle and follow a specific set of directions. Field sobriety tests are divided into three categories.

Horizontal gaze nystagmus

This is the most common field sobriety test because it checks for impairment in eye movements. It involves asking a person to gaze on an object such as a finger, pen, or flashlight that the officer will be moving. An intoxicated person will have a harder time keeping their eye movement steady and will move their eyes in a jerking manner when following the object.

Walk and turn

This is a parallel parking test where the police officer will tell the driver to follow the officer along a straight line as they walk ten paces. The test is intended to check for blood flow in the brain due to impaired motor functions. If there is evidence of impairment, it can be used at trial as evidence.

One leg stand

This test requires that you put one foot on the ground and lift your other foot off it while standing still. It is mainly intended as a check for balance. If there is evidence of impairment, it can be used at trial as evidence.
Sometimes officers may also use other tests like reciting the alphabet backward or maybe counting. You should remember that these tests are voluntary, and you do not have to take them if you do not want to.

Are Field Sobriety Tests Accurate?

The reality is that field sobriety tests are not that accurate. They were designed to be used during the arrest process, so they cannot convict someone at trial. Even though police officers are trained in administering the tests correctly, there may be room for error.

The implementation of field sobriety tests does not take into consideration that people can have different abilities based on age and even gender. For example, it is very difficult for a person who is over the age of 60 to stand on one leg or accurately follow a finger with one their eye closed because those skills deteriorate quickly as you get older. You can also see the problems inherent in this type of testing.

Additionally, other factors such as stress and other medical conditions can also influence how you respond. Apparently, even the breathalyzers and blood alcohol levels are not always accurate and can be manipulated as well.

What If You Refuse To Take The Test

Refusing to take a field sobriety test can be a big issue. Even though many people believe that their refusal will not hurt them, it actually can. Not only will it make you look like a troublemaker, but the police may also use your refusal in court against you if they decide to override it
In Arizona, there is no statute of limitations on DUI cases so they can still prosecute you as many times as they want.You should also remember that you do not have to take a field sobriety test but you must understand the law and know your rights. Arizona law allows you to refuse the field sobriety tests at your own risk.

However, we are against this. We highly recommend that you take these tests and try to have a good attitude while doing them. If the officer attempts to push you to take these tests, we highly recommend asking if it is mandatory or voluntary. If they say it is compulsory, you should then ask them if they have any other way to verify your intoxication or impairment. If they do not, you should politely tell them that you do not feel comfortable doing the testing and ask if you can get a ride to the police station.

At the station,the officers will administer other tests like a breathalyzer, urine, or blood test, and the officers can arrest you if they feel there is enough evidence to charge you with a DUI. If they lack evidence and do not have a warrant for your arrest, you will be free to leave. You can also refuse to take field sobriety tests if the person administering it is not a police officer.

Ultimately you should speak with a DUI attorney if you are in this circumstance to ensure that your rights are protected and to also ensure a favorable outcome. Remember that it is your right to remain silent and to exercise that right until later at trial, but also understand that you should respect an officer’s words because failure to do that may ultimately be a mistake. You can visit us at, and we will assist you in case of any DUI charges.

Jensen Family Law,
3740 E Southern Ave Suite 210
Mesa AZ 85206,
(480) 999-2321

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Jensen Family Law in Mesa is located on 3740 E Southern Ave Suite 210, 85206 Mesa, Arizona. From Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Take S 41st St to E Sky Harbor Blvd, then Head west on E Sky Harbor Blvd and Use the left lane to take the exit toward S 41st St. Then Turn right onto S 41st St. After that, Continue straight to stay on S 41st St, then Take AZ-202 Loop E, AZ-101 Loop S and US-60 E to S Val Vista Dr in Mesa. Take exit 184 from US-60 E after that Merge onto E Sky Harbor Blvd, then Use the left 2 lanes to merge onto AZ-202 Loop E toward Tempe/Mesa and Use the right 3 lanes to take exit 9 to Merge onto AZ-101 Loop S. After that, Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 55A-B to merge onto US-60 E toward Globe, then Take exit 184 for Val Vista Dr. Then Continue on S Val Vista Dr to your destination and Turn left onto S Val Vista Dr. Turn right onto E Southern Ave, then Turn left and Destination will be on the right.

We’re open 9AM – 5PM Monday – Friday and we are closed on Saturday and Sunday.

For additional questions you can call us at (480) 999-2321 ro you can find us on Yelp.