Field Sobriety Tests: Answers To Common Questions
The moment that a police officer pulls you over in Chicago on suspicion of drunk driving is one filled with stress. Frank A. Tedesso, the founding attorney of The Law Office of Frank A. Tedesso, has assembled commonly asked questions related to a key factor in DUI charges in Illinois: the field sobriety tests used to determine whether a driver is intoxicated.
Field Sobriety Tests: Frequently Asked Questions
Question #1: If I am stopped by law enforcement for a possible DUI, what tests will they use to determine intoxication?
If you are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, you will most likely be asked to take one of the following tests:
- Blowing into a portable breathalyzer to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) level
- Physical tests of sobriety, such as the walk and turn test and one-leg stand test
- The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, in which you follow an officer’s pen or finger with your eyes
Question #2: Do I have to take a field sobriety test?
You are under no legal obligation to take any field sobriety tests. This choice is not without consequences. The officer may arrest you based on other signs of intoxication; however, you will not provide the state with additional evidence against you.
Question #3: Will I have to take a sobriety test if I am arrested?
No, you are not required to take a sobriety test once you are arrested. You may refuse a blood, urine or breath test to determine BAC level at the police station.
Question #4: What is my best strategy if I am stopped on suspicion of DUI?
Every defendant’s case is unique, but in general, you should:
- Never admit to drinking or make belligerent statements to the police
- Politely decline to take field sobriety tests prior to your arrest
- Refuse to take a portable breath test in the field, because it is not admissible in court, but it can be used against you in a license suspension hearing