One of the constant questions that I am asked about from somebody who has been pulled over under of suspicion of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs of abuse is whether or not they should take the standardized field sobriety tests or any other field sobriety tests or exercises offered by the police officer or peace officer making such a request.
Unfortunately, it is rare that an attorney can be contacted before the decision can be made to take the tests. Under our current statutes, there is no administrative license suspension (ALS) for refusing to do the field sobriety tests as the ALS for refusing to do any chemical tests, including the most popular, the breathalyzer. Therefore, especially if you are considering refusing to take the breathalyzer, you should definitely refuse to take the field sobriety tests.
Contrary to popular belief, they are not designed to be physical tests but are actually divided skill attention tests, though your physical condition could greatly impair your ability to perform the tests or exercises. This would include back, knee, ankle or other leg problems, inner ear problems, eye disorders and simply wearing hard contact lenses. When deciding whether or not to take a chemical test, including the breathalyzer, that decision must be based upon the amount the person has consumed as well as what the implications of what having a license suspension would be. These concerns are not there with the field sobriety tests and although there is always the chance that you would perform so well on them that the police officer/peace officer would let you go, such has rarely been my experience, as they have usually made up their minds before they ask you to perform the field sobriety tests. Therefore, I would not recommend ***(go back to the horizontal gaze nystagmus portion (which is not on the tape) and add “include certain medications, such as seizure medications, may also effect the interpretation of this test.” …and when we discuss some of the other tests… “some of the field sobriety tests also should not be done on people with advanced age, specifically those over 65, or overweight people, usually by 50 pounds or more.)