Should I do the Field Sobriety Tests? The short answer: Unless you haven’t had a single drink, this is probably a very bad idea.
If you have been drinking and the police pull you over, it is my suggestion to be smart and refuse to incriminate yourself. Exit from your vehicle only if the police orders you to get out of your car. And if the police officer asks you to perform the field sobriety tests, politely refuse. By law, you do not have an obligation to perform field sobriety tests, and the refusal to perform these so-called tests is inadmissible against you in California courts.
In addtion, there isn’t a penalty imposed upon you for refusing to attempt these discredited “tests”- sometimes called “Standardized Field Sobriety Tests” or “Roadside Exercises.” The “tests” are very difficult to pass, especially since you are required to perform them under the watchful eye of the officer with the power to arrest you. In many cases, the officer has already made up his mind to arrest you. He wants you to attempt these “tests” so that when you are charged with DUI, he can present more evidence to the jury of your alleged impairment. Almost always, no matter how well you may believe that you performed on these “tests,” the officer will likely testify that you failed the “tests” miserably. So my position is why help the officer build his case against you?
Comments about this post can be directed to Orange County DUI attorney William Weinberg at (714) 834-1400.