Being pulled over by the police is always scary, but being asked to submit to a field sobriety test can be even scarier. Whether an officer has pulled you over on suspicion of DUI or you have been stopped at a DUI checkpoint, you may find yourself panicking and unsure of how to handle yourself. Should you be 100 percent cooperative and do everything the officer asks, or should you take the Fifth and refuse to comply with tests? Do you even have the right to decline a field sobriety test? The answers to these questions are more complex than a simple “yes” or “no.” Because of this, we’ve dedicated an entire post to discussing whether or not you must – or should – complete a field sobriety test.
The Object of Field Sobriety Testing in Arizona
These tests exist as a means of helping a police officer determine whether or not an individual is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and is posing a threat to himself and others on the road. Unfortunately, field sobriety tests can be difficult to pass even if you’re not intoxicated – especially if you’re feeling nervous or on edge. What’s more, an officer’s judgment of a field sobriety test is entirely subjective (except in the instance of a breathalyzer test), and an officer could determine that an individual is inebriated just because he or she has general balance issues or struggles to complete a task that they are not accustomed to doing. This is why the help of the experts at Schill Law Group is often needed after a field sobriety test has been failed.
What Happens if You Refuse to Complete a Field Sobriety Test in Arizona
Knowing that field sobriety tests can be tricky and that officer judgments are subjective might sway you toward refusing to complete field sobriety tests. Here’s where things get a little bit complicated. In the state of Arizona, you have the right to decline when an officer asks you to take a field sobriety test, the tasks of which may include walking a straight line and/or standing on one leg. The real question is whether or not you SHOULD decline.
In many cases, refusing to complete a field sobriety test can and will be viewed as an admission of guilt. For this reason, you may need to be prepared to be placed under arrest for a DUI. Once you have been arrested, you may be required by law to submit to a breathalyzer test. Should you decide not to submit to a field sobriety test, you may want to consider remaining silent and allowing your attorney to speak on your behalf.
Things to Consider Prior to Completing a Field Sobriety Test in Arizona
In the event that you are asked to submit to field sobriety testing, there are a few things that you should keep in mind:
- If an officer has pulled you over and is requesting that you complete a field sobriety test, he or she is already suspicious and likely already intends to arrest you for a DUI. At this point, the officer is asking for DUI testing to gain more evidence against you.
- Field sobriety tests can be inaccurate and certain medical conditions, medications, or even the way in which the testing is administered may impact the outcome.
- Certain medical conditions could cause you to outright fail, even if you have not had anything to drink.
- Refusal to complete a field sobriety test will likely lead to your arrest in Arizona.