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Can you say no to a field sobriety test in Georgia?

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Field sobriety tests are standard practice in Georgia. However, they are not a sufficient way to determine whether you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Here is what you need to know about this controversial practice.

What are field sobriety tests?

There are a few types of standardized field sobriety tests that Georgia police officers can use when checking for DUI:

  • The walk-and-turn test requires you to stand still before stepping one foot in front of the other, walking heel to toe. Then, you turn around and walk back to your original position.
  • With the one-leg stand test, you will stand on one foot with the other raised 6 inches above the ground. The officer will typically ask you to keep your arms at your sides.
  • The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test requires you to follow an object with your eyes only, looking for signs of involuntary jerking of the eye that may indicate intoxication.

The standardized methods officers use to evaluate your performance are questionable.

Should you refuse a field sobriety test?

Field sobriety tests are entirely voluntary, and unlike chemical tests for blood alcohol content, you can choose not to submit to one without losing your license. You can fail any or all three while entirely sober. For example, standing on one leg for more than a few seconds without practice is difficult. Additionally, someone with an eye condition could fail the HGN test, and walking heel-to-toe in a straight line could be challenging for anyone, especially if they have difficulty balancing body weight.

If the officer still places you under arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, remember that you still have options to prove your innocence or minimize the consequences.