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Can You Refuse a Field Sobriety Test in Arizona?

Posted on February 15, 2021 in Field Sobriety Tests

Law enforcement officers ask drivers they suspect of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs to perform field sobriety tests, and drivers comply because these tests seem routine. Few Arizona drivers know they can refuse to perform these tests. 

Before making any decisions regarding field sobriety tests, drivers should know the following:

  • The federally approved standard field sobriety tests;
  • Other common field sobriety tests used by Arizona officers;
  • Reasons to decline performing field sobriety tests;  
  • How to refuse an officer’s request to perform field sobriety tests; and
  • Potential consequences for refusing field sobriety tests.  

What Are Standard Field Sobriety Tests?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) approves three Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTS) for law enforcement use. According to the NHTSA, these SFSTS require appropriate testing conditions and equipment for accuracy. The SFSTS approved by the NHTSA are the following:

  • The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN);
  • The Walk and Turn test; and
  • The One-Leg Stand.

Other Non-Standard Field Sobriety Tests

Arizona law enforcement officers use the Standard Field Sobriety Tests and some non-standard tests when gauging driver sobriety. Other tests used in Arizona can include:

  • Reciting the alphabet backward;
  • Heel-to-toe test;
  • Finger-to-nose test;
  • Fingers-to-thumb test; and
  • The modified position of attention, or Rhomberg.

While police officers testify to approved SFSTS results in court, they rarely present the non-standard test outcomes.

Reasons To Refuse Field Sobriety Tests

There are several reasons to refuse both standard and non-standard field sobriety tests. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Field sobriety tests are easy to fail whether sober or intoxicated;
  • Field sobriety tests are subjective tests;
  • Field sobriety tests are often inaccurate; and
  • Field sobriety tests rarely follow NHTSA rules and guidelines.

How To Refuse Field Sobriety Tests

Drivers who choose to refuse field sobriety tests should be polite to the requesting officer and provide the following information as required by Arizona law: 

  • Their name;
  • A valid driver’s license;
  • Vehicle registration; and
  • Proof of insurance.

Potential Consequences for Refusing Field Sobriety Tests

A law enforcement officer may do the following once a driver refuses to perform field sobriety tests:

  • Arrest the driver on suspicion of DUI;
  • Provide the refusal as proof of guilt in court; and
  • Request the driver submit to chemical testing or a breathalyzer.

Declining to take a chemical test or breathalyzer in Arizona results in an immediate minimum twelve-month revocation of a driver’s license. Ultimately, an officer can obtain a warrant and forcefully get blood for a chemical test without a driver’s permission.

Immediately Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney for Help

If you or someone you know refused or failed field sobriety tests, do not despair. Call the Rosenstein Law Group. Our Board-Certified DUI defense attorneys handle all aspects of DUI cases. We will help you with your arrest, driver’s license, plea negotiations, or a trial.  

When you need answers about a DUI anywhere in Arizona, call or email Rosenstein Law Group. We offer a free consultation and can help set your mind at ease. Let our DUI lawyers in Scottsdale explain your legal options to you in full, so you know the impact any decision you make will have on your life.  

Call us any time, day or night. Rosenstein Law Group will fight aggressively to defend your rights and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

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