If you are under suspicion of drunk driving, the police officer who pulled you over may request that you submit to a field sobriety test. The Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST) actually consists of three tests, including the following:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN): The officer will ask you to follow a moving object with just your eyes to observe your eyeball movements.
- Walk-and-turn: The officer will ask you to take nine heel-to-toe steps in a straight line, turn on one foot, and take nine steps in the opposite direction. The officer will keep an eye out for signs of impairment, including loss of balance.
- One-leg stand: The officer will ask you to stand with one leg six inches off the ground and count from 1,001 for approximately 30 seconds. The officer will look for signs of impairment, including swaying and hopping to maintain balance.
While the above tests can provide some insight as to whether a person has been driving while intoxicated, they are not fool proof. Many people have difficulty performing these tests well, even when they are completely sober. Age, physical limitations, and some medications can impact a driver’s performance, even if they have not been drinking.
Can I refuse a field sobriety test?
Under Georgia’s law of implied consent, there are several consequences for refusing a breath or chemical test, including license suspension. However, there are no legal consequences for refusing a field sobriety test. Keep in mind that you may still be arrested and charged with a DUI based on your breath test results and officer observations. A criminal defense attorney can help you protect yourself against these charges.