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What You Need to Know About Field Sobriety Tests

When an officer suspects that a person has been driving under the influence, they will usually ask them to exit their vehicle to perform a field sobriety test. These tests utilize physical tasks that the person will need to perform to prove that they are capable of safely driving their vehicle. Field sobriety tests can include making the person walk in a straight line or having them touch the tip of their finger to their nose while saying the alphabet backwards.

Field sobriety tests are essentially used to boost a police officer’s conclusion that a driver is under the influence. Although police have been using field sobriety tests for years, it does not mean that such tests are scientifically accurate or even a valid indicator of a person’s intoxication levels. In fact, many sober drivers would likely have difficulty “passing” one or more aspects of a field sobriety test.

Field sobriety tests are supposed to measure a person’s cognitive functions through what are known as divided attention tests. However, many of the tests that police use have nothing to do with intoxication and can actually skew the “test results” unfavorably for the person being evaluated. There are many issues that can adversely impact a field sobriety test, such as:

  • The emotional stress of being arrested
  • The flashing lights of the police officers car
  • Noise from the traffic at the scene
  • A person’s physical conditioning
  • Weather conditions

If you are ever pulled over and asked to perform a field sobriety test, you have the right to refuse. Remember, these test serve as a way to justify having you consent to more accurate chemical testing like a blood, breath, or urine test. Politely decline the field sobriety test and immediately contact an attorney if you end up being arrested for DUI.

Want to learn more about field sobriety tests? Contact our Connecticut team of DUI attorneysto set up a free consultation today.