Many people have been arrested for or know someone that has been arrested for driving under the influence. These arrests are very common, and are often the first time that an individual has had any interaction with law enforcement. They might know what to expect, or what they should and should not do if they have been pulled over on suspicion of DUI.
Like many other states, Arizona has an implied consent statute. This means that if driving a vehicle on a roadway in Arizona, the motorist consents to a test to check the amount of alcohol or drugs that are present in his or her system. Refusing to take this test will result in the suspension of a driver's license.
However, police may request that an individual perform field sobriety tests as part of their investigation into whether or not the motorist is impaired. Drivers may feel that this is their opportunity to show police that they are not impaired, and are able to drive safely.
Unfortunately, this is not a test that most people will pass. Police are not looking to see if a motorist is able to drive, but rather for any sign that a motorist is impaired. Any sign could result in a person failing a field sobriety test, allowing the officer to continue the investigation.
Motorists have the option of whether or not they want to take these tests. Refusing to take the field sobriety tests will not result in an automatic license suspension. In fact, performing poorly on the tests may make it difficult to challenge the arrest in court, especially if the tests were recorded by the police officer's dashboard camera.
These tests can be very difficult to challenge in court, because the police officer may receive the benefit of the doubt. He or she has probably stopped several hundreds of drunk drivers in the past, and will be recognized as having sound judgment. Know your rights when you are stopped by police. It can help you preserve the options that are available in your situation.
Source: Arizona Department of Public Safety "Impaired Driving"