Sometimes people are under the assumption that if an officer asks me to do something, they must do it. This scenario frequently happens when an officer requests a citizen to perform roadside field sobriety tests. “Do I have to do these tests?” The quick and easy answer to this is absolutely not. Many times an officer will pull a citizen over, make contact with the person, and smell alcohol. Many times an officer is pulling a person over for a minor traffic offense just to see if they can smell alcohol. Then, the officer says, “I just want to make sure you are okay to drive, I want you to perform some tests for me.” Many people mistakenly think they can prove their innocence to the officer and say sure no problem. You have a choice here. You can say “sure, no problem” or “you can say I’m sorry officer, I do not trust your grading criteria, I do not trust the accuracy of your tests, and I do not trust you. I do not want to take your tests.”
Oh no, you just told an officer that you were not going to provide any more evidence to him! What are the consequences? Some officers will arrest you and build their weak case from other clues of impairment. Some officers will realize they do not have enough evidence and let you go. (Rarely happens). Either you will most likely be going to jail if you the officer believes he smells alcohol. You can either go to jail having provided them evidence of your field sobriety tests, or you can go to jail with the officer mad because he has little evidence against you. You will increase your attorney’s chances of winning your case if you provide no evidence. Just so we are clear, there is no law that requires you to do field sobriety tests. There is no crime or punishment related to your failure to do field sobriety tests. Do not let an officer coerce you in to doing field sobriety tests. You will not pass them, even if you feel you do. Very rarely will an officer admit that a citizen that he arrested did fabulous on the field sobriety tests.