3 Ways An Officer Can Test Your Sobriety

Posted on: 9 December 2016

If you ever get pulled over because the police officer thinks that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or other mind-altering substance, they are going to do several things. While you always have the right to refuse to do any of those things, if you do, you are probably going to end up being arrested no matter what and compelled to do other testing. 

Field Sobriety Test

One thing they are going to require you to do is a field sobriety test. The tests are simple, but each of them will show a different deficit that can show up with a person who is under the influence of some substance. That includes things like balance, reaction time, and memory. Some of the tests in the field sobriety test will include walking in a straight line heel to toe. If possible, the officer will ask you to follow the line on the side of the road, but that may not be safe. Other tests will include standing on one leg, holding your other foot in the air while counting up to a specified number. The officer may ask you to start saying the alphabet from a certain letter to another letter, forward or backward. 


Another test that the officer may ask you to do is a breathalyzer. This test will measure the alcohol level in your breath. You will take a deep breath and then blow a short, sharp breath into the tube of the machine. Breathalyzers tend to be fairly accurate when it comes to measuring what your alcohol level is. The officer may skip the field sobriety test if they smell a strong enough smell of alcohol coming from you or they see open or empty containers in your car and go straight to the breathalyzer. If the field sobriety tests are inconclusive, then the officer will likely also use the breathalyzer. One problem with the breathalyzer is that it doesn't check for other intoxicating substances, just alcohol. 

Blood Tests

If you refuse tests or you show up as under the influence without showing anything on the breathalyzer, you may be compelled to take blood tests. You will be arrested and taken to a hospital or infirmary. Those tests will show how intoxicated and what intoxicant is in your system. 

If you have been pulled over for a suspected DUI, then the officer will ask you to do some tests. If you are arrested, you have the right to say nothing until a DUI lawyer can join you.