Should I take the field sobriety tests?

These days at social gatherings a very common question I get is whether you should take the roadside Field Sobriety Tests (FST’s). The three (3) Field Sobriety Tests (FST’s) typically administered by law enforcement are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)(pen light), walk and turn and one-leg stand. Sometimes, the officer will administer additional tests such as the ABC’s, backwards count and finger-to-nose among others. He/she also might administer the portable breath test (PBT). This is the breath test at the scene that is used primarily for establishing and determining probable cause to arrest and is not admitted into evidence, other than for that purpose.

Generally, you need to remember that these tests are voluntary. You do not have to take them. The upside is that if you pass them the officer might not arrest you. However, this very rarely happens and the downside is that you are providing evidence and building the prosecutor’s DUI case against yourself. The fact of the matter is that these tests can be difficult under any circumstances for most people.