Field Sobriety tests in Tucson, Arizona

Field Sobriety tests in Tucson, Arizona

When a police officer suspects a person is driving while impaired, they have the right to stop that person and determine if impairment is present and if so, at what level. Sometimes it is obvious the driver is impaired by the smell of alcohol, slurred speech or glassy eyes. A police officer will often conduct a field sobriety test (FST) to test a driver’s reaction, level of comprehension and coordination.

Most field sobriety tests practiced by law enforcement are not considered to be an effective indication of a person’s level of intoxication or impairment. There are no conclusive studies linking the results of any field tests to legal intoxication.

There is three FST’s law enforcement officers can conduct that has earned a level of legitimacy by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The tests include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, or more commonly called the eye test, the walk then turn test and the stand on one leg test. Any other test is not validated under Arizona law.

The FST’s are used to gauge the drivers divided attention. Driving requires dividing attention between several tasks including breathing, steering, navigating and signaling. The theory is alcohol, and even drugs prescribed or otherwise, will impair the driver’s ability to divide attention when behind the wheel.

Drivers have the right to refuse a field sobriety test! However, the driver is already being investigated for DUI, and an arrest will most likely follow no matter if the tests are completed or not. A drawback to refusing the FST’s is the prosecutor will argue the driver refused out of a guilty conscience and argue to convince the jury of the fact the driver knew they were intoxicated.

Arizona uses the implied consent law, and a driver is required to submit to chemical testing, if requested by the police officer. A driver who refuses the chemical testing will face a fine and automatic license suspension for one year, whether or not the driver is found guilty of DUI. The police officer may request a warrant for the testing.

In Arizona, the police have the ability to decide the type of test, and they include blood, urine or breath test. The driver’s attorney should always request a sample of the blood, urine or breath the police used for independent testing.

If you are in need of an expert in the field of driving under the influence, call the Law Offices of Jacob Amaru located in Tucson, Arizona and serving Tucson, Casa Grande Sierra Vista, Nogales and Bisbee. Jacob Amaru can be contacted at (520)-465-6968 or by email at