You don't have to submit to field sobriety tests even if the police make it seem like you have to. Many people think that if they are not drunk or only had one drink, why shouldn't they take the field sobriety tests? The problem is that these tests are not always accurate, and a driver can easily “fail” a test even if they are okay to drive. Most of the time, you should not agree to field sobriety tests because they can unfairly be used against you in court.
When the police or Georgia State Patrol pull over a driver, the look for signs of impairment. If the police have a suspicion that the driver is intoxicated, they will ask the driver to do a few tests. This usually begins with the pen test, or “horizontal gaze nystagmus” test, which tests the eyes for signs of alcohol intoxication. If the police say they are going to test your eyes, this is a field sobriety tests, and you do not have to be subject to this treatment.
Many of the field sobriety tests can be difficult to complete even when completely sober. And when people are pulled over, almost everyone feels nervous or anxious, even if they did nothing wrong. When the officer asks a driver to do the tests, they have often already made the decision to arrest the driver for a DUI. The sobriety tests are only to give them additional evidence to use against the driver in court.
Atlanta Field Sobriety Test Consent
Field sobriety tests are not mandatory. Police officers may make it seem like you have to take roadside tests, or make it seem like you will get arrested if you don't do them. This is not what the law says, and you should not be coerced into taking these tests where the law is clear that they are voluntary.
Under state law, drivers have given their implied consent to submit to chemical testing after they are arrested for a DUI. If a driver refuses to give a blood, breath or urine sample to test for blood alcohol concentration (BAC), they will risk automatic suspension of their license even if they are not later convicted for drunk driving. This is the implied consent requirement in Georgia.
Implied consent does not require a driver to submit to field sobriety tests. All field sobriety tests are voluntary, and can be refused by the driver. This includes the eye test, walk and turn test, and one leg stand test. The best thing to say to a police officer who wants you to take any of these tests is to politely advise:
“My lawyer has advised me not to do any field sobriety tests.”
The police officer may arrest you, and may make it seem like you are being arrested because you did not do the field sobriety tests, but in most cases they were planning to arrest you anyway. Be sure to have your DUI lawyer's contact information handy so you can contact your lawyer after you are arrested and taken to the police station.
Georgia DUI Defense Lawyer
It can be shocking and embarrassing to get arrested for “drunk driving.” Being treated like a common criminal, handcuffed and taken to jail is a terrible experience. But just because you failed some field sobriety test does not mean that you are guilty of drunk driving. You need a DUI lawyer who understands how police conduct field sobriety tests, and what the results really mean. I have received the same DUI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing as Georgia police officers, so I know just what they are supposed to do. If you or a loved one have been charged with driving under the influence, please give me a call so you can put this unfortunate event behind you, and keep your license.