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Do you have to submit to field sobriety tests?

Seeing those lights in your rear-view along with those sirens can send your heart racing. You may have just had a couple of beers, and you fear the inevitable battery of questions and tests the officer will put you through.

A police officer may pull you over on any number of things, but when he or she believes that you are driving under the influence, the officer may request that you submit to field sobriety testing. Do you know your rights under Louisiana law when it comes to this?

Common field sobriety tests

The police use three field sobriety tests to help prove impairment.

An officer will ask you to balance on one leg while holding the other a certain distance above the ground without using your arms for balance. You may also have to count to 10 before repeating the test on the other leg. This measures your balance and cooperation, but if you have balance issues or an injured extremity, this test may give a false-positive.

The officer asks you to follow a pen or other object by just moving your eyeballs horizontally. If you cannot do this for one reason or another, the officer may use this to charge you with DUI, even if you have a lazy eye or other condition.

Walking heel-to-toe down a line while counting, then turning around and walking back is a standard field sobriety test that measures balance and the ability to follow commands properly. If you have balance issues or the like, you may not pass this.

Louisiana law

In Louisiana, you do not have to submit to field sobriety testing, no matter what an officer tells you. It will not enhance the DUI charge nor will it reflect poorly on you. You may still face arrest if there is other evidence supporting a DUI charge.

Field sobriety tests do not always come up with accurate results when measuring someone’s level of impairment. Since other factors can contribute to your failure, you may want to decline the officer’s request to take them.

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