People are stopped every day in California for drunk driving, whether or not they have actually been drinking or are acting like they are intoxicated. Understanding field sobriety tests before you get pulled over is a good way to prepare ahead of time just in case you are ever presented with a situation where you need to perform well on these tests.
Tests You Can Practice Ahead of Time
Police officers use three standard roadside sobriety tests, two of which can be practiced anywhere before you are stopped. The two that can be practiced are the walk-and-turn test and the one-leg-stand test. The first test assesses your balance and ability to listen to and follow instructions by having you walk in a straight line for a number of steps and then turn around to walk the same number of steps back down the line to where you started from.
The second test is the one-leg-stand test. This also evaluates your balance and equilibrium, which can be affected if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. During this test, you will stand on one leg with the other held about a foot above the ground and count to a number decided by the officer.
Tests That Cannot Be Practiced In Advance
The third field sobriety test is not one that can be practiced or rehearsed ahead of time. Officers are looking for a condition called nystagmus, which is the involuntary shaking or jerking of the eyes. It’s not possible to stop nystagmus if you have it. Some people have medical conditions or take medications that cause nystagmus, even if they are not under the influence.
Can I Decline Field Sobriety Tests?
It’s important to remember that while chemical testing is required by law under implied consent laws, field sobriety testing is not. You have the option and right to decline these tests and doing so cannot be held against you like refusal to submit a breathalyzer test can be.
Contact a Sacramento Criminal Defense Lawyer If You Were Arrested For a DUI
Being arrested for drinking and driving – especially if you haven’t been – is a frightening experience. Attorney Jennifer Mouzis can help advocate for your rights under California law to ensure you are treated fairly and to pursue the best possible outcome in your case. Call our office now at (916) 822-8702.