Most people who are stopped by police in Georgia tend to cooperate and do everything the officer asks them to do. However, there are times when you should politely refuse. One of those times is if you are asked to take a field sobriety test.
Your best defense against a DUI conviction is not to take any tests you are not legally required to take. You should also seek a lawyer's advice as soon as possible, as the consequences of a conviction are extremely high in Georgia.
Georgia police officers typically administer two roadside tests if they suspect a driver was driving under the influence:
- A field sobriety test consisting of the walk and turn, the one-leg stand, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. These tests are designed for you to fail, and may not even be administered correctly. For example, you are likely to fail the horizontal gaze nystagmus (tracking a pen or object the officer moves in front of your eyes) if the test is given at night and there are moving lights (such as car headlights) in the background.
- A roadside breath test using a portable Breathalyzer. The unit may or may not be calibrated correctly, and the officer may not administer the test correctly.
If you take either test, you are only giving the police evidence they can use to arrest you and charge you with driving under the influence. The only test you are required to take in Georgia is a blood, urine or breath test - after you have been arrested and read the implied consent notice. This test is typically administered at the police station. If you refuse to take a required blood, urine or breath test, you face automatic suspension of your driver's license.
If you are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, call an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. If you took a field sobriety or breath test and failed, don't be discouraged. You may have a strong defense based on the facts of your case.