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What Are Some Misconceptions About Standardized Field Sobriety Tests?

The biggest misconception people have is thinking they can pass the tests. Many people have already taken the field sobriety tests when they come in, and think there is no problem because they believe they’ve passed.

I do not think anyone has enough experience with any one test to be able to say the officer did not administer it correctly. In my experience, people often think they should not have been arrested because they passed the tests, or did better than the officer says they did when, in fact, they did not “pass” the tests.

Are People Obligated To Do The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests?

No. Generally speaking, a person is under no obligation to submit to any field sobriety tests. However, if on probation, they may be required to submit to a pre-arrest breath test or to perform the field sobriety tests, depending on the terms of their probation.

What Happens If Someone Takes The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests But Refuses The Field Breathalyzer?

The pre-arrest breathalyzer is done in the field and is voluntary. It may be difficult for the DA to show impairment based on a person’s field sobriety tests alone, depending on how that performance was documented. If it was documented correctly by the officer, or if it was documented in such a way that it shows impairment, then not taking the pre-arrest breath test will not really make a difference as far as the DA’s opinion. The arrested individual can still argue that they were not actually under the influence, but it will not make a difference to the DA. That argument would likely have to be presented to the Jury.

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