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Field Sobriety Tests: What You Need to Know

Field Sobriety Tests: What You Need to Know

If a police officer suspects that you have been driving under the influence, they will generally ask you to get out of your vehicle and perform a field sobriety test. These tests utilize various physical tasks that are intended to evaluate your capabilities of safely driving a vehicle. Field sobriety tests can include things like making you walk in a straight line or having you stand on one leg as you try to touch the tip of your index finger to your nose, all while saying the alphabet backwards.

Although field sobriety tests are used to estimate a person’s level of impairment, the tests themselves lack scientific credibility. The truth is, many sober drivers would likely struggle to “pass” one or more aspects of these tests. Factors that can affect the results of field sobriety tests include:

  • Emotional stress from being stopped by law enforcement
  • The physical health of the person being tested
  • Traffic and weather conditions
  • Fatigue
  • Poor officer training

Additionally, the symptoms of intoxication can be very similar to the symptoms of various other medical conditions. Red or watery eyes, slurred speech, a flushed face, or unsteady posture are often used by police to initiate field sobriety tests. These same symptoms can be caused by allergic reactions, fatigue, illness, irritated eyes, and all sorts of other medical conditions.

It is important to remember that if you are pulled over and asked to perform a field sobriety test, you have the right to refuse. These tests are used to validate the officer’s conclusion that you are drunk and gives them grounds to have you submit to a chemical test, which is illegal to refuse in Colorado. Instead of consenting to a field sobriety tests, politely decline and ask for your lawyer.

Have you been arrested for a DUI? Contact our Denver team of DUI attorneys to get legal help today.

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