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Field Sobriety Tests

Facing DUI Charges? Call a Kansas City DUI Lawyer!

Law enforcement may not arrest you for any reason without establishing probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. When it comes to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, probable cause may only be obtained once an officer is under reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed. But how can law enforcement make this determination? The answer: field sobriety tests. A field sobriety test is a simple task than law enforcement asks a person they suspect of being intoxicated to perform, and their ability to perform it is usually severely hindered by their intoxication.

While law enforcement uses these tests to establish probable cause and make arrests for drunk drivers, they are notoriously inaccurate and prone to errors both in results and in administration. If you have been arrested for DUI, an error in your field sobriety test could be a critical part to your case. When you call SRC Law Group, LLC, our Kansas City criminal defense attorneys work hard to help you fight back against your charges in every way possible.

We are experienced in reviewing all evidence in your case, and we can work with you to determine the best possible strategy for defeating your charges and helping you maintain your rights, privileges, and clear record. If you have any suspicions about your arrest, including your field sobriety tests, discuss your case with an attorney from our firm and begin developing an impactful, hard-hitting defense case.

To receive a free, confidential case evaluation, call SRC Law Group, LLC today by dialing 913.583.0465.

Types of Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests used to come in many different shapes and sizes, but a lack of standardization or proper training meant they were tremendously unreliable and led to countless false arrests. Today, law enforcement receives proper training on standardized field sobriety tests which they can use to help establish probable cause.

The three most common types of field sobriety tests are:

  • Walk-and-turn: Perhaps the most well-known test, the walk-and-turn test involves walking in a straight line, heel-to-toe, and then turn on the spot after a certain number of steps. This test combines listening and executing commands along with the ability to keep balance.
  • One-leg stand: Similar to the walk-and-turn, this test involves maintaining balance on one foot without having a point of reference to balance on, and doing this while also performing another mental task, such as counting to 30. Sound hard? It is. Thousands of people fail this test every year simply because they couldn’t do it at all, even some people who are completely sober.
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus: This is perhaps the simplest and most accurate test because you don’t really have the ability to beat it. In this test, an officer simply has you follow a pen, finger, or small light with your eyes and without moving your head as they move it horizontally in front of you. Those who are intoxicated lose the ability to control their eye movements smoothly, resulting in flickering or twitching motions in intoxicated individuals.

Declining a Field Sobriety Test

It’s important to note that field sobriety tests like these are not mandatory by law. They are not legally considered a search, and you do have the right to refuse to consent to one of these tests. However, this does not guarantee that you won’t be arrested for DUI—law enforcement can obtain probable cause legally in other ways.

Conversely, once you are arrested, law enforcement can compel you to consent to a search, which means you will be forced to take a blood or breath chemical test, and the results of this test can be used against you during your trial and administrative hearing.

Have you been arrested for a DUI? Discuss the details of your case, including your field sobriety tests, by contacting SRC Law Group, LLC today.

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