The Field Sobriety Test is the evaluation that law enforcement officers do to people who are suspected of Driving under the Influence (DUI) to analyze if they are still capable of driving safely, considering that they will not endanger themselves and the other people on the road. Field Sobriety Tests are done by law enforcement officers to know if people who are driving vehicles that are suspected of DUI are still able to function well. These tests are usually done to evaluate one’s ability to concentrate, balance, multitask, and function as directed, characteristics that are usually impaired whenever one is under the influence or intoxicated.
Though officers may ask you to do other things that will give them the chance to evaluate these characteristics that will give hints to them about your sobriety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has made a standard set of test that every law enforcement officer administers to suspected DUI drivers. This standard set includes the 9 Step heel-to-toe walk, the one-legged stand, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. These tests are designed to analyze one’s focus, balance, coordination, concentration, and their ability to properly follow instructions. But being intoxicated isn’t the only way to fail these tests. But failing these can mean actual arrest even if you know that you aren’t intoxicated and can function well.
I have enumerated the standard set of sobriety tests that NHTSA has mandated law enforcement officers to follow on events that they’ve pulled over a suspected DUI Driver. If you know for yourself that you are not intoxicated and is perfectly sober then the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test is not a problem for you. This test requires the officer to check on the suspects eyes for signs of involuntary jerking that can be a sign of intoxication.
But the other two parts that are included in the NHTSA standard sobriety test set is merely dependent on one’s ability to start, go through, and finish these by following the instructions.
- Always Keep Calm and Respect the Officer. After being pulled over by a law enforcement officer, always remember to keep calm and never do unnecessary actions that will only fuel the officer’s suspicion about your sobriety. Remain seated and keep your hands where the officer can see them.
- Know your rights. It’s normal for an officer to ask you questions for them to know what’s going on. But always remember to keep your rights. You may not answer inquiries that may actually directly incriminate you but never lie to an officer.
- Concentrate and have full attention. After a few inquiries, there will come the point when the officer will have to ask you to undergo the Field Sobriety Tests. Always remember that what the officers are looking for through these tests are your inability to follow instructions, inability to properly balance, your coordination, and your ability to function properly. At this point, remember tip no.1 and remain calm and respectful. Concentrate on the instructions given and be attentive. Do things slowly but thoroughly.
- Give the officer your full cooperation. If you still fail these tests at some point, go back to tip no.1 and give the officer your full cooperation. Never fight back or assault an officer. Contact your DUI Lawyer immediately and ask for assistance.
Note that this post does not promote DUI but rather a guide through being a responsible person in cases of being pulled over because of a suspected DUI. There will never be a better defense from DUI charges other than not committing it all. Remember that if you commit DUI, you’re not only endangering yourself but others too.