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A Field Sobriety Test is conducted by law enforcement to determine if a driver is intoxicated; the results of that testing is often used as a legal justification to administer further Breath an Blood Tests. If an officer suspects you of driving under the influence, you would be asked to perform a field sobriety test. Many people do not realize that performing a field sobriety test is voluntary and you are not required by Arizona law to take the test. If you do take a field sobriety test, it’s important to know, the results can be used against you as evidence for DUI.   Arizona drivers also should be aware that refusal to submit a field sobriety test can be used at trial if later charged for DUI.

Types of Field Sobriety Tests

Although there are many different tests used by the police, only three of them have been certified by the National Highway Safety Administration and are thought to hold any merit when determining a person’s sobriety:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN) – Also known as the “eye test,” this most often involves an officer moving a pen or another object in a number of ways while the DUI suspect watches with their eyes. During this test, the officer is looking for something called Nystagmus, meaning the jerking or bouncing of the eye as it moves, indicating a neurological impairment that occurs when alcohol is in the system.
  • Walk & Turn Test – During this field sobriety test the subject is asked to walk nine steps touching heel to toe in a straight line. Police will score this test, taking off points for things the subject does wrong, such as stepping off the line, failing to touch your toe to your heel, taking the wrong number of steps, using your arms for balance, or stopping to balance yourself.
  • One Leg Stand – When this field sobriety test is administered, the subject is told to stand on one foot, raising their other foot about 6 inches off the ground while counting to 30. Like the walk and turn test, certain actions will be noted against your score such as hopping or bouncing for balance, swaying, putting your foot down, looking at your foot, or using your arms to balance.

What You Should Know

These tests can be difficult to perform when you are inebriated. However, it is also important to be aware that a One Leg Stand test or Walk & Turn test can also be difficult for an individual who is extremely nervous, upset or shaken due to being pulled over by law enforcement. In your attempt to prove your sobriety, you may actually appear that you are under the influence of alcohol.

As an experienced DUI Firm, Sonoran Law Group realizes how subjective field sobriety tests can be– we know how to challenge their results in court. If stopped for DUI in Arizona, we highly recommend that you refuse to take a field sobriety test, but if you do, there are ways to combat the results. As your DUI Attorney, our team will explain and demonstrate how inaccurate field sobriety tests can be so the jury or judge might not use this as evidence when considering your DUI case.

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