December 27, 2018 By Matthew Wallin

Are Field Sobriety Tests Voluntary?

Seeing those flashing red, white and blue lights appear behind you while you’re driving is a nerve-wracking experience. Your mind may begin to race with thoughts like, “Was I speeding? Did I miss a stop sign? Is my taillight out?”

With so much going through your mind, you may not be able to think clearly. So, when an officer asks you to step out of your vehicle and perform field sobriety tests (FSTs), you may not know how to answer.

Do you agree to take FSTs? Let our experienced DUI defense attorney walk you through what to do.

What are Field Sobriety Tests?

A police officer who stops you on suspicion of driving under the influence is looking for evidence that you committed the crime. For instance, slurred speech or having alcohol on your breath could be indications that you were drinking. In many cases, law enforcement will ask you to take field sobriety tests to find observable signs of impairment.

The most common field sobriety tests are the:

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) – When a law enforcement officer asks you to keep your head straight and follow a pen or his or her finger with your eyes
The walk-and-turn – You walk in a straight line with one foot in front of the other, turn around and do it again the opposite way
The one-leg stand – When you stand on one leg to show that you can keep your balance

While the officer will be checking to see if you can keep your balance, FSTs are also a test of whether you are able to follow directions.

So, if an officer asks you to take a field sobriety test, how should you respond?

Field Sobriety Tests are Not Mandatory

You are not legally obligated to take FSTs. You should simply and politely tell the officer, “no, thank you.”

Refusing to take FSTs does not mean that you will not be arrested. If the law enforcement officer believes he or she has enough evidence against you, he or she will arrest you. However, the evidence against you may not be as strong because you did not take a field sobriety test.

Can I Also Refuse a Chemical Test?

You are allowed to refuse a blood or breath test if you have not been arrested. If you have been placed under arrest, California’s “implied consent” laws – which you agree to when you obtain a driver’s license – say that your consent to a blood or breath test is implied. Thus, you cannot refuse the test if you have been arrested. If you do so, you face a one-year suspension of your driver’s license.

Contact the DUI Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

If you or someone you love has been accused of DUI, you should contact a skilled and knowledgeable DUI defense lawyer at Wallin & Klarich. Our skilled DUI lawyers have more than 35 years of experience successfully defending clients facing DUI charges. Let us help you now.

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich DUI defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.

Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free, no-obligation phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

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