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Should I Submit to a Field Sobriety Test?

In Missouri, field sobriety tests are a way for police officers to observe the balance, physical ability and attention level of a person whose been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. Officers typically record these field sobriety tests as evidence in a DUI case. Unfortunately, many drivers are unaware of their rights and feel pressured to submit to these kinds of tests. If you’re pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence, do you have to submit to a field sobriety test?

The Standardized Field Sobriety Test

The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST), endorsed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), is a battery of 3 tests:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) – The HGN test is used to measure the involuntary jerking of the eyes as they look left and right. When someone is impaired, the tendency for eye jerking becomes much more prominent. To administer this test, a police offer will hold an object in front of the driver, move it side-to-side and ask the driver to follow it with their eyes and without turning their head.
  • Walk-and-Turn Test – This test helps determine a driver’s coordination, balance and motor skills. During the walk-and-turn test, a driver is asked to walk a straight line, heel-to-toe. At the end of the line, the driver must pivot on one foot and return in the opposite direction.
  • One-Leg Stand Test – In this test, an officer asks a driver to stand on one leg for 30 seconds and count upwards.

Do I Have to Submit to a Field Sobriety Test?

No, you do not have to submit to any field sobriety tests. However, if a police officer feels that you are impaired, they may arrest you or require you to submit to a chemical test, which is required under the Missouri Implied Consent Law. Unlike denying a field sobriety test, saying no to a chemical test can lead to an automatic suspension of your license and a DUI charge.

If you have been arrested for DUI, contact our our Kansas City criminal defense lawyers at Rokusek Stein Law, LLC. Call (913) 583-0465 today.


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attorney rokusek is a mock trial instructor for the johnson county police academy and serves on the federal criminal justice academy (cja) panel for the district of kansas and on the federal attorney appointment list. she is also a master attorney in the earl e. o'connor american inn of court.

at rokusek law, llc, our lawyers have a reputation for offering a high-standard of professional service. this is shown by the multiple honors that we’ve been awarded over the years.

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