You can PASS the Field Sobriety Tests in Oklahoma and still be arrested!
Why You Should Politely Decline Any Field Sobriety Test
If you are pulled over on suspicion of a DUI, the officer may ask you to submit to the standardized field sobriety tests. Although this battery of tests is regularly administered during DUI stops across the country, you may be surprised to learn that field sobriety tests are not required. In fact, a recent landmark case involving the legitimacy and enforceability of field sobriety tests results reinforces why suspected drunk drivers should always refuse these tests.
Types of Field Sobriety Tests
There are three field sobriety tests that are sanctioned by the National Highway Traffic Administration, or NHTSA: the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the one-leg stand test, and the walk-and-turn test. The purpose of each of these tests is to determine if an individual exhibits the physical symptoms consistent with intoxication or if his or her cognitive abilities are impaired due to alcohol consumption.
Field Sobriety Tests in Court
In 2014, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in the case of Tennessee v. Bell that an individual’s performance on a field sobriety test is ultimately irrelevant in a DUI investigation. The Court ruled that even if a suspected drunk driver “passes” the field sobriety tests, if the officer has enough probable cause in the form of erratic driving, an admission of drinking or the smell of alcohol on the driver’s breath, a DUI arrest can still be made.
Here in Oklahoma, as in Tennessee, field sobriety tests are optional. Your refusal to submit will not give the officer additional grounds to arrest you. Even if you submit to the test and pass, you can still be arrested for a DUI—so why take the chance or give the officer additional information to use against you?