It is a scary thing to see those blue lights behind you as you’re driving home from a night on the town or a few drinks with the after-work gang. Your thoughts are racing as you try to compose yourself for the imminent encounter with the police officer walking up to your window.
Chances are good that you may be asked to perform one or more field sobriety tests. Your response to that request — and it is only a request — can determine the trajectory of events that occur after the traffic stop.
Why there are no good reasons to taking field sobriety tests
Even people who are stone-cold sober can be unable to perform any or all of the field sobriety tests. Medical conditions that affect the lower limbs like arthritis, obesity and inner ear problems and even advanced age can prevent anyone from standing on one leg for 30 seconds or performing the walk-and-turn test.
Having ADD, ADHD or other neurological processing conditions can make it impossible to comprehend rapid-fire commands from the police while standing on the side of the road with traffic whizzing by, sometimes only inches from you. People can flunk the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test simply because of minor vision problems like having a “lazy eye.”
Choose a better option
Because of all the above and considering how subjective “passing” these field sobriety tests actually is, there simply is no upside to handing the police and prosecutor evidence that could be used to convict you in court.
Remember that you have the right to refuse these roadside tests and to refuse to answer police questioning without your criminal defense attorney present. Then, exert your right to remain silent while remaining cooperative with the process.