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Phone: 703-865-6610
Easley Law Firm

What should I do if police seek to administer field sobriety tests?

You have the right to decline all field sobriety tests (e.g., walking straight line, counting, reciting alphabet, standing on one foot, following police finger or pen with eyes, touching fingers or nose, etc.).  You also have the right to decline a preliminary breath test or PBT, which is a hand-held device often used by police to determine blood alcohol content before arrest.  Note: PBT should not be confused with the post-arrest breath/blood test offered at the police station or jail.  You must comply with the post-arrest breath/blood test or risk an additional charge for refusal.

Remember, police must have “probable cause” to arrest you.  Probable cause is a legal term of art that simply means police must have clear facts or evidence to believe you are involved in criminal activity.  The police are trained to persuade you to comply with field sobriety tests and PBT to establish probable cause for arrest.  They will rarely, if ever, inform you that these tests are optional.  They are trained to offer field sobriety tests in such way that you believe compliance is mandatory or somehow in your best interest.  Police will use their training and all circumstances to their best advantage in gaining your compliance.  In effect, by administering field sobriety tests, the police seek to have you make, or certainly strengthen, their case against you.  The last thing you want to do is voluntarily provide police with the necessary probable cause for your own arrest.

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Easley Law Firm

  • 10521 Judicial Drive
    Suite 205

    Fairfax, VA 22030
  • Phone: 703-865-6610
  • Fax: 703-842-6101
  • Toll Free: 888-386-3898
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