During a DUI Stop, Should I Take a Field Sobriety Test?
In this short video, Robert Ernenwein, a South Bay DUI Attorney with 30+ years of experience defending clients accused of DUI, discusses the field sobriety test. Find answers to the following questions:
- Am I required by law to take a field sobriety test?
- Will I lose my drivers license if I refuse to take the test?
- Is it in my best interest to take a field sobriety test?
- Will it harm my case in any way if I refuse to take the test?
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Transcript - DUI Stop: Should I Take a Field Sobriety Test?
So, an officer has stopped you perhaps for a vehicle code violation, perhaps for a minor traffic collision, perhaps for a more serious traffic collision. And now you're being questioned, you're outside of the vehicle, you're on the side of the road and the officer asks you to perform certain tests commonly referred to as "field sobriety tests". Should you agree to do those tests?
Field sobriety tests are not required by law. They're not required by the vehicle code. They're not required in order to keep your California driver's license. Very often it is in your best interest to decline to do field sobriety tests.
Know that the officer will take notes of your performance. Very often they're videotaped, they could be played in front of a court or jury and most often officers do find that you do not satisfactorily perform the tests and that your performance on those tests show impairment. So, generally speaking, declining to do the field sobriety test is generally in your best interest.
Understand this, however. If you decline to do the field sobriety tests, the officers will likely take that into consideration in making a decision to arrest you. There are certainly a number of cases, many cases where people perform field sobriety tests, the officers find that they perform them satisfactorily and they're released on their way.
The decision is really a personal one, but I will say this. Generally speaking, performing field sobriety tests prejudices my clients and it's a bad idea.