Often times a police officer making a DUI arrest will ask or demand that you take some type of field sobriety testing. Nervous, and feeling that compliance is required, most all drivers submit to these roadside tests, and unknowingly help the police officer build a DUI case against them.
In the State of Georgia, all POST certified law enforcement officers have taken the NHTSA class on field sobriety testing. In this 24 hour training course, officers learn how to administer the basic field sobriety evaluations, as well as basic concepts in alcohol detection and physiology. If you have been suspected of a DUI in Georgia, chances are the officer asked you to perform these field test, which include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn test, and the one leg stand test. Officers also frequently include a preliminary breath test, some form of alphabet test, and other agility exercises when investigation a suspected DUI driver.
While 9 of 10 drivers think these tests are mandatory, they are not. The Georgia Constitution, as well as Georgia law, protects all citizens of this state from being compelled to give evidence against themselves. While compliance is not required, it is up to the driver to exercise his right to refuse taking these field sobriety tests. Additionally, once in custody and charged with a crime, no officer can make a citizen of Georgia submit to any further testing, absent a warrant or other statutory power. The right to refuse these field sobriety tests is frequently confused with Georgia’s Implied Consent law and the right to refuse chemical testing of your blood, breath, or urine. While you do have the right to refuse testing under Implied Consent law, refusing the tests requested by the arresting officer will carry driver’s license penalties. Refusing to take field sobriety tests, before you are placed under arrest carry no driver’s license penalties.