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Field Sobriety Tests

The Weingart Firm > DUI Defense  > DUI Arrest > Field Sobriety Tests

Field Sobriety Tests
Scottsdale, Tempe, Phoenix, Arizona

Because an arrest for any DUI charge must be based on probable cause, the goal of the police officer is to gather as much information as possible to support the arrest before he or she can compel a blood alcohol test through the Intoxilyzer 8000 or a blood sample.

Such information is generally gathered and recorded from the time the officer decides to start following your car and it really starts to pile up after you’ve been pulled over. If you have questions about how your interaction with an officer or your performance on a field sobriety test might affect your DUI defense, contact a DUI defense lawyer at  The Weingart Firm.

Except in cases involving extremely erratic driving, the probable cause necessary to support a DUI arrest usually doesn’t exist before you’re pulled over, even if you’re stopped for a moving violation such as speeding or failure to signal a turn. Once you’re approached by the officer for your license and proof of insurance, however, the hunt for DUI evidence against you begins in earnest.

The more you talk to the officer, the more opportunity he or she has to gather such information as:

  • Smell of alcohol
  • Empty cans or bottles in the car
  • Flushed appearance
  • Bloodshot / watery eyes
  • Disarranged clothing
  • Slurred speech
  • Loud or inappropriate language and manner

Always assume that there is a digital audio or video recording and act accordingly.

The so-called field sobriety tests are little more than an attempt to gather more information concerning the likelihood of an elevated blood alcohol content, so that the officer can develop and document the probable cause to suspect drunk driving and place you under arrest. Only then can you be compelled to provide a blood sample or take a breath test.

While you shouldn’t refuse the blood or breath test, after you are arrested, you can and should refuse the field sobriety test in whatever form – walking and turning, following a light with a steady gaze, or any other physical or verbal demonstration. The ability of any field sobriety test to prove a given level of blood alcohol is marginal at best, with most tests lacking any real validation at all. These tests are not designed to “pass”, only fail. They don’t take into account your age, weight, sex, or the weather. Our experienced DUI attorneys know how to challenge the results of any field sobriety test in a motion to suppress evidence or at trial.

The less you say and do in a DUI arrest situation, the better. Beyond presenting your license, registration, and insurance papers, you have no obligation to provide information. All other questions should be answered with a brief, polite, and clear request to phone an attorney.

For further information about our ability to represent you effectively in any DUI case where probable cause for the arrest was based on a field sobriety test, contact us.