May 15, 2008 By Wallin & Klarich

The short answer to this question is, as a general rule – NO!! If you have been pulled over or contacted by police officers that suspect that you have been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you are, with one possible exception, under no legal obligation to submit to so-called “Field Sobriety Tests.” One big exception is if you have been previously convicted of a DUI and the Court has placed you on probation, and you are still on probation to the Court, since most courts order, as a condition of probation, that the probationer submit to all Field Sobriety Tests if requested to do so by the police.

There are numerous so-called Field Sobriety Tests that an officer will have a suspected DUI driver perform; however, most officers will chose between 2 and 5 of the following tests:

* Finger-to-nose
* Horizontal gaze nystagmus
* Heel-to-toe
* Alphabet recitation
* Hand pat
* Fingers-to-thumb
* One-leg-stand
* Modified position of attention (the Rhomberg test)

Most of the time, when a person suspected of DUI submits to these tests, they are NOT videotaped and no “evidence” exists of how the person performed on the tests – save, of course, for the arresting officer’s subjective interpretation of the arrestee’s performance on the tests. Ask any attorney experienced in defending people accused of DUI driving, like the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich, how many of their clients have said that they “passed” the Field Sobriety Tests, only to find out later that, according to the arresting officer that they “failed” the test, and you will quickly realize why (unless you are on probation for a DUI) it is probably best to politely refuse to submit to Field Sobriety Tests.

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