DUI Field Sobriety Tests
Field Sobriety Tests are a battery of preliminary roadside test that police administer to detect DUI drivers. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed to these roadside tests to be used in early detection of DUI impaired, and DWI drivers. Police officers who ar formally trained and accredited to administer the tests, conduct them on the roadside following a DUI stop. The police must have the consent of the driver in order to administer them. These tests are not mandatory under current Arizona state law.
Standard Field Sobriety Test
Police officers have been known to conduct other DUI sobriety tests. However, NHTSA has only approved three official FSTs, known as Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST)s. They are:
1. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN);
2. The Walk-and-Turn;
3. The One-Leg Stand.
If any other FSTs were conducted, outside of the SFSTs, your criminal defense attorney can move to have the results suppressed, so the results cannot be admitted as evidence against a suspect.
Consequences of Refusing Field Sobriety Testing in Tempe AZ
A driver stopped for DUI investigation, has the right to refuse the FSTs since they are not mandatory in Arizona. However, persons should be aware, that there are consequences of refusal. If you refuse the FST and the police feel they have other "probable cause" to make a DUI arrest, the may proceed with arresting someone on "suspicion of DUI".
Why Criminal Defense Attorneys Advise Against Them in Tempe AZ
Most attorneys will advise you to politely refuse to participate in any Field Sobriety Testing. You have a constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination. In most cases these roadside tests will not serve to help a suspect's defense, whether they are driving impaired due to alcohol or drugs or unimpaired. There are many reasons for this:
• Historically, and statistically, even the Standard FSTs have proven inaccurate.
• The FSTs are administered, judged, and graded unilaterally by police officer who is trying to arrest you, often resulting in bias or non-objectivity of results.
• Many people unimpaired by alcohol or drugs cannot pass the roadside tests. If the suspect fails, it can be used as evidence against them, even if they were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
• NHTSA rules have strict guidelines regarding instructions and administration of the test; environmental factors; lighting; clothing; landscaping; traffic conditions; candidacy of persons taking it that relate to age, weight, medical conditions and more. If strict guidelines are not followed, the tests results may be invalid.
• They are generally used as evidence against a person and rarely if ever help their defense.
If you were charged with DUI, and either participated in Roadside DUI testing or refused to participate in them, you should consult a DUI attorney to discuss your case. If retained they will defend your charges, and protect your rights through the criminal justice process. There may be defenses you are not aware of that could lead to a dismissal of charges; suppression of evidence; or reduction of penalties.
Law Office of James Novak
4500 S. Lakeshore Drive
Tempe AZ 85282
Arizona DUI, DWI, Drunk Driving & Criminal Defense Firm
Serving Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Phoenix & Scottsdale AZ