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Field Sobriety Tests (Part A)

If you are pulled over by a police officer who suspects you may be driving under the influence, several things can happen. You can be questioned and released if the officer believes you're sober. Or, you can be arrested immediately if you are clearly driving while intoxicated. In the event that the officer is unsure, you may be asked to undergo field sobriety tests.

What Should I Do?

Field sobriety tests are intended to determine if you are legally intoxicated
by evaluating your motor skills, mental acuity, and information-processing ability. These tests are highly subjective, and the only determinant of whether you "pass" or "fail" is the police officer's opinion.

If you are not comfortable taking field sobriety tests, you have the legal right to decline to do so.
A non-threatening way to refuse the test is to tell the officer that you would like to speak to your attorney first. However, if you say no, you will very likely be arrested.

The most important thing to remember is that you are not automatically guilty of a Virginia DUI if you happen to fail a field sobriety test.
A Virginia DUI attorney may still be able to clear you of all charges, depending on your circumstances.

Types of Field Sobriety Tests

There are several different types of field sobriety tests a police officer many ask you to perform in order to determine your level of intoxication. Understanding how these tests are designed to work can help you and your lawyer question their validity in court if you are arrested for a Virginia DUI.

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Bob Battle
100% of my practice is devoted to serious traffic defense and criminal litigation in state and federal courts