Have you ever wondered what you’d do if a police officer were to pull you over and ask you to take a field sobriety test? Perhaps you recently lived through just such an experience. You may have felt nervous or afraid, but also wondered if you were legally obligated to submit to the tests. Knowing your rights ahead of time can really come in handy if you do wind up in a situation where a police officer is asking you to step out of your vehicle.
Do you know there’s a difference between field sobriety tests, breath tests and chemical testing? In fact, the differences are significant because refusing to submit to one basically has no direct administrative or criminal repercussions while the others definitely may. Understanding the legalities of different types of investigative testing and knowing where to turn for support if a problem arises can help you stay calm and make informed decisions if police officers question you about drugged driving.
Arm yourself with information
At no point in time should you abdicate your legal rights during a drug-related traffic stop or any other situation where law enforcement has subjected you to criminal investigation. Regarding traffic stops where police suspect driver drug or alcohol use, there are certain things you should know about field sobriety tests. The following list includes useful facts:
- When a police officer asks you to submit to a field sobriety test, the purpose is to observe you in order to determine whether there is probable cause to make a DUI arrest. This type of arrest pertains to drug use as well as alcohol.
- There are basically three types of field sobriety tests most used by law enforcement agents in Arkansas and most other states. These are the walk-and-turn test, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test and the one-leg stand test.
- There are various injuries or health conditions that may impede your ability to perform well on such tests.
- You are not legally required to submit to field sobriety tests, no matter how many times a police officer requests that you do.
- A field sobriety test carries no penalty for your refusal to submit.
- Refusing a breath test, however, carries automatic administrative penalties under implied consent laws in Arkansas and many other states.
The thing is that there is no reason to immediately lose hope and think that you will wind up in jail if a police officer arrests you on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even if prosecutors file charges against you, there are typically several defense options available to try to avoid conviction.
Most people who have faced such charges in the past in this state have relied on experienced defense assistance to help them get their lives back on track and avoid the long-lasting negative consequences of their situations.