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DUI field sobriety tests are not obligatory

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2023 | Driving Offenses

If a Pennsylvania police officer makes a traffic stop, the driver might be asked to exit the vehicle if intoxication is suspected. To determine if there is probable cause to arrest a motorist, a police officer might request that the driver take a field sobriety test. If the test is failed, a DUI arrest may take place.  

There are typically three types of field sobriety tests administered during traffic stops where a driver is suspected of impairment. The test with which most people are familiar is the walk-and-turn test. Additional tests used to determine probable cause for DUI include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which is an eye test, and the one-leg stance test.  

A police officer is observing behavior during a field sobriety test 

If a person is taking a math test in school, there is a right or wrong answer for every problem. In a field sobriety test, a passing or failing score is based on the administering officer’s assessment of the test taker’s behavior. The officer observes the person taking a sobriety test to determine whether the driver exhibits any symptoms of drunkenness.  

Many Pennsylvania drivers are not aware that they are not obligated to take a field sobriety test to determine probable cause for a DUI arrest. If a police officer asks a driver to take such a test, the driver is free to decline, no questions asked. A driver cannot be arrested or charged with a crime for refusing to take a preliminary alcohol screening test. At all times, the driver retains the right to request legal support.