Field Sobriety Test in Contra Costa County
Our Experienced DUI Lawyer Explains Your Rights
In order to request that you submit to a field sobriety test, the officer must have reasonable suspicion for pulling you over in the first place. Officers look for drivers who can’t maintain their lanes, drive without their lights on, drive too fast or too slow, tailgate, and other tell-tale signs. After they pull you over, they will likely ask you to submit to a field sobriety test if they suspect you are driving under the influence.
Knowing your rights can help you feel empowered in situations like this. Ask our Contra Costa County field sobriety test attorney, Anthony Blalock, to review your case and explain your options. Regarding DUI, The Blalock Law Firm, PC is the most trusted source for honest, helpful information.
Do You Have to Take a Field Sobriety Test in California?
Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are voluntary in California. You can refuse to take them without penalty. This is important because even sober drivers can fail FSTs for reasons unrelated to their blood alcohol content. Suppose an officer asks you to take a sobriety test. In that case, no matter the situation, you can refuse unless there has already been an arrest for DUI charges.
Field sobriety tests are separate from the official chemical test.
In a field sobriety test, you'll be asked to do some exercises, including:
- Walk a straight line
- Touch your nose with your pointer fingers
- Stand on one foot
- Follow a pen with your eyes
- Recite the alphabet
- Blow into a roadside Preliminary Alcohol Sensor (breathalyzer)
The officer uses these tests to determine whether or not he or she has probable cause to arrest you for DUI. Since these tests can be unreliable, their results are often disputed. The court is less likely to look at the results of your test than they are to look at your blood or breath test.
Know How to Respond if You're Pulled Over
If you are pulled over, and the officer begins an investigation for being under the influence, we recommend you respectfully limit the amount of information the office can gather against you. For example, the more you speak, the more opportunity the officer has to smell your breath and claim you are slurring your words. Since you aren’t required to participate in Field Sobriety Tests or blow into the roadside Preliminary Alcohol Screening breathalyzer, decline. This will force the officer to decide if they have the necessary evidence (called “probable cause”) to legally arrest you with less -vs- more information. Once arrested, you are legally required to submit to either an official breath or blood test; refusal subjects you to additional criminal charges and the potential for a longer DMV suspension of your driver's license. It is beyond the scope of this website to discuss all the factors that go into evaluating whether to take a breath vs. blood test.
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