Field Sobriety Tests

Field Sobriety Tests - What are FST(s)?


These are the roadside tests that the police officer will ask you to perform if he/she suspects you have been drinking because of the way you have been driving prior to being pulled over, and then evidence that you have been drinking, for example the smell of alcohol in your car or on your person, or empty alcohol containers in your car. Even fumbling for your driver’s license and registration could be a tip off that you are not entirely lucid and therefore sober.

A common misconception about these tests is that they are mandatory. This is not true in any of the 50 states. They are 100% voluntary, you do not have to go along with the officer’s request to do the tests if he asks you to. In fact, most lawyers advise against doing these tests because doing so only gives the officer greater “probable cause” to arrest you on a drink driving offense.

Other common terms for these tests are “Roadside maneuvers,” “Standardized Field Tests,” and the names of each test: “The One-Legged Stand,” “Walk-and-Turn,” and the “Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus” test, which is where the officer asks you to follow his finger or a pen with your eyes only, without moving your head.