Can the Police Make You Do a Field Sobriety Test if You’re Stopped for DUI in Spartanburg, South Carolina?

Most people have seen a field sobriety test at some point in their lives. Even if they don’t see one in person, they’ve probably seen it on television. Maybe you’ve seen a television show where someone is arrested. Or, you may have been a passenger in a car when the driver is stopped for DUI. If you’re stopped for DUI in Can the Police Make You Do a Field Sobriety Test if You’re Stopped for DUI in Spartanburg, South Carolina?, the police will likely ask you to take a Field Sobriety Test (FST). 

The truth is, you don’t have to submit to a FST. You can either refuse to take one, or you can only agree to take a standard version of a field sobriety test. For example, if the police ask you to read the alphabet backwards, that isn’t a valid form of the test. Or, if it’s pouring rain out and they ask you to look at the sky and touch your nose, that may be difficult. If the test is asking you to do things that you wouldn’t be able to do in the best of conditions, then the test really isn’t fair. 

Once you submit to the field sobriety test, the results of that test can be used in court. However, this doesn’t mean your Spartanburg DUI lawyer isn’t allowed to challenge the test or the result of the test. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk to an experienced DUI lawyer in South Carolina before you get to court.

A car being pulled over by the police in Spartanburg, SC.

The FST Must Meet the NHTSA Standards

In order for your field sobriety test to be considered fair, it must meet the standards set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to the NHTSA, there are only three (3) standard components to the field sobriety test:

  • The one-leg stand: The police are allowed to ask you to stand on one leg for a reasonable period of time. If you fall or can’t maintain your balance, it may be seen as a sign that you’re impaired.
  • Walk and Turn: The officer is allowed to ask you to walk a certain number of steps, heel to toe, and turn around. You’ll then be expected to return to your original spot walking the same way. If you fall, stumble or are unable to walk in a straight line, you may be deemed impaired.
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: The police are allowed to test your ability to pass the horizontal gaze test. Essentially, they’re looking to see if you can follow an object without moving your head. If you can’t do this, you’ll likely be arrested for DUI.

You Can Still Be Arrested if You Refuse the FST

If you refuse the FST, you will probably be arrested. The police will presume that you’re afraid to take the test because you are indeed drunk. The same is true if you barely pass the FST. Perhaps you perform at about 60%. That doesn’t mean that you’re impaired or that you’re sober. It’s something to be taken into consideration. The police are going to review the total situation and make a determination as to whether you’re impaired or not. If, after looking at all the circumstances, they don’t feel you’re impaired, they may let you go. However, more often than not, if the police think you’re even the tiniest bit impaired, you’ll be arrested for DUI. It will be up to your DUI lawyer in Spartanburg to prove that you were not, in fact, driving while impaired.

Contact an Experienced DUI Lawyer in Spartanburg Today

If you’ve been arrested and charged with DUI, you need an experienced lawyer. Even if you submitted to a field sobriety test and did not perform well, that doesn’t guarantee your DUI conviction. Your DUI lawyer can always review the recording of your FST to see if it was performed properly. It’s your lawyer’s job to look for reasons why your charges should be dismissed or reduced.

Call and set up a date and time to come into the office and meet with a skilled DUI attorney. It’s important that you have an idea of what you’re up against, especially before you attend your first hearing. Whether or not your charges are dismissed early on will make a huge difference in your life. If it gets to the point where you have to go to trial, things may not bode well for you. At least if you have a Spartanburg DUI lawyer, they can work with the prosecutor to either get your charges reduced or dismissed all together.

The Bateman Law Firm 5 stars - based on 364 reviews
The Bateman Law Firm