In California, when you are stopped by the police because they suspect you are driving under the influence, you may be asked to submit to a field sobriety test (FST). Many California drivers are not clear on what their rights are when this happens. Most drivers in most cases are not required, even if asked, to submit to a field sobriety test. If you are arrested and charged with DUI in southern California, get legal help from an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney who knows your rights and will fight for them.

Most people are familiar with at least some of the commonly used FSTs, which include the walk and turn test; the one-leg stand test; the horizontal gaze nystagmus test; the finger-to-nose test; and the alphabet test. When properly conducted, an FST is supposed to help a police officer determine if there’s cause to arrest you for suspicion of DUI. In truth, most police officers seldom conduct FSTs properly, and they’ve already decided they’re going to arrest you. Therefore, there’s really no reason to submit to any field sobriety tests. If you are driving in California, over 21, and not on probation for DUI, you are not required to submit to an FST. You have the right to decline.

Even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration agrees that field sobriety tests are almost always unreliable. In most cases, FSTs are simply an opportunity for the police to compile more incriminating evidence against you. You don’t need to help them do that; the less evidence of any kind they have, the better for you. Be pleasant and polite, but firm. In southern California, if you are arrested and charged with DUI after declining an FST, get the legal help you’re going to need and speak with an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney immediately.