Field sobriety and chemical testing are standard procedures for a DWI arrest.
However, most people do not know that you do not have to submit to either.
What is a field sobriety test?
If the police pull you over with reasonable suspicion that you chose to drive while intoxicated, they will likely ask you to submit to a field sobriety test. The types of tests include:
- The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus tests your eyes for an involuntary jerking movement common with intoxication. They typically have you follow an object with your eyes.
- The One Leg Stand test requires you to hold one foot six inches from the ground and balance for at least 30 seconds.
- The Walk and Turn test requires you to walk in a straight line with one foot in front of the other, turn and come back in the same manner.
The problem with these tests is that anyone could fail them completely sober for several reasons. For example, someone with a higher center of gravity or excessive weight may struggle to balance on one leg.
What happens if you refuse to participate?
You are within your rights to refuse field sobriety testing, but the officer will likely still ask you to take a chemical test, such as a breath test. You can refuse both. They will most likely still arrest you and require you to take a chemical test at the station, but refusing can often make arguing your case less complex.
Being arrested for a DWI does not amount to a conviction. You still have your day in court.