As summer approaches, this is a prime time for drinking and driving, so it’s most likely also a part of local law enforcement’s plans to step up their surveillance. One common tool that Phoenix police officers use to screen for intoxicated drivers is the field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests can be conducted any time of the year during any traffic stop, and officers find them especially convenient during peak drinking times.
Even if you haven’t had anything to drink, you might still face drunk driving charges. A report by NBC News revealed that field sobriety tests can be difficult to pass, no matter what your BAC is. For example, if you naturally have trouble balancing, you might easily fail the common test of standing on one foot for 30 seconds. If you have a medical condition that makes it difficult to walk steadily, or if for any reason you use your arms to balance when you’re walking along a line, an officer might interpret these actions as signs of intoxication. You might even be suspected of drunk driving if you’re simply nervous and have trouble performing any of the tests the officer asks you to do.
Field sobriety tests can be even more challenging for those with speech impediments, injuries, age restrictions or obesity-related impairments. A police officer is allowed to use his or her own judgment while conducting a field sobriety test, so you might be arrested whether or not you submit to a breath test.
This information is not intended to serve as legal advice, but can help you understand what you might face when stopped by law enforcement.