Understanding your rights and obligations is crucial if the police stop you on suspicion of drunk driving. One area to know about is a set of physical tests collectively known as field sobriety tests.
The police can ask you to perform one or more of these, and you might think you should comply with their request. However, you’d be far better off refusing politely.
These tests are not mandatory in Virginia, and you have nothing to gain by undertaking them. Accepting to take part puts you at a higher risk of a DUI. Here is why:
Failing a test gives the police probable cause to arrest you
The police need a reasonable suspicion that you have broken the law to stop you. Yet that alone does not give them the right to arrest you. For that, they must meet the higher standard of probable cause. Failing field sobriety tests would count.
There’s a fair chance you would fail these tests, regardless of alcohol
Here are some of the reasons you might fail when sober or perform worse despite being under the legal limit:
- Medical conditions: Balancing on one leg will be harder with an injured hip. Inner ear problems could also affect your balance. An eye or brain issue may make it difficult for your eyes to follow the officer’s pen.
- Nerves: A DUI is a big deal. It’s understandable if you are too nervous to focus when the police pull you over.
If you are reading this after failing a field sobriety test, remember there are ways to challenge the results. Get legal help to find out more.