Do I Have to Take the Field Sobriety Test?

traffic enforcer ticketing a traffic violation

Missouri takes impaired driving very seriously. It is not uncommon for DWI arrests to cluster around holidays like Halloween. Officers may ask you to perform a field sobriety test if they pull you over on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The same is true if police stop you at a checkpoint. There are different types of sobriety tests. The Standardized Field Sobriety Test is a battery of three separate tests that measure your physical coordination. Another test is the portable breathalyzer, a type of roadside sobriety test that measures the alcohol content of your breath. Finally, there is chemical testing, which may take place after an arrest. Do you have to take these tests?

Our Kansas City DWI attorney can help you look at defense options if you are facing impaired driving charges. Below, we discuss when you do and when you do not have to take a sobriety test during a DWI stop in Missouri.

Do I Have to Take the Standardized Field Sobriety Test?

The Standardized Field Sobriety Test is a combination of three tests that officers may ask you to perform at a DWI stop. See below for a summary of the tests:

  1. The Walk-and-Turn Test: Officers may ask to gauge your physical coordination at a DWI stop. One way they do this is by asking you to perform the Walk-and-Turn Test. With this test, the officer asks you to walk in a straight line, heel-to-toe, for nine paces before turning around and walking the other way.
  2. The One-Leg-Stand Test: With the One-Leg-Stand Test, officers will ask you to stand with one leg six inches off the ground and count. Officers are trying to assess your balance.
  3. Horizontal-Nystagmus Test: Nystagmus is an eye condition where the eyeballs make uncontrolled movements. With this test, officers may ask you to track an object moving left to right, such as a pen or finger. Officers use this test to look for eyeball jerking, or nystagmus. Alcohol intoxication can lead to nystagmus.

Fortunately, you do not have to take the Standardized Field Sobriety Test. You could fail any of the tests above even if you are sober. The types of shoes you are wearing, the weather, a loud noise where you are performing the test as well as certain medications and health conditions can cause you to fail.

Officers may also administer these tests improperly. This is a possibility even when officers are using a test not listed above.

Do I Have to Take a Portable Breathalyzer in Missouri?

Another type of roadside sobriety test is the Portable Breathalyzer Test (PBT). You do not have to take the PBT prior to arrest. Officers may use a PBT to obtain probable cause for an arrest and additional testing.

Missouri has an implied consent law. If police arrest you, they may ask you to submit to chemical testing. Blood, breath and urine tests may determine the drug or alcohol levels in your body. While you may refuse, it could lead to an automatic 1-year license suspension. Fortunately, sobriety tests, including chemical tests, are not always accurate.

Arrested for a DWI in Missouri? Contact Our Kansas City DWI Lawyer

Arrested for a DWI in Missouri? Contact our Kansas City DWI lawyer. We can explain potential defense options. You can reach us by dialing (816) 221-6006 or by using the contact form on our site.

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