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Field Sobriety Test

Law enforcement officers use Field Sobriety Tests (FST) to determine if there is probable cause to charge someone with DUI.  Refusing a South Carolina Field Sobriety Test does not have the same penalty as refusing a breathalyzer test, although you could still be arrested on suspicion of DUI.  The results of your FST will determine whether or not you are asked to take a Breathalyzer test. Your FST will include at least 3 standardized field sobriety tests and must be videotaped.

Standard tests are:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test – the officer passes an object in front of your face while you follow it with your eyes. The officer will note any unusual response.
  • Walk the line test – you are asked to take 12 heel-to-toe steps, turn around and walk back, all while counting your steps.  The officer will note any problems with completing this test as instructed.
  • Stand on one leg – you are asked to stand on one leg and count to 30. The officer will note if you have any trouble completing this task.

Non-Standard tests are:

  • ABC or number testing – you are asked to recite the alphabet or a series of numbers backward or forward.
  • Finger to nose test – while standing with your eyes closed, you are asked to touch your index finger to your nose.
  • Balance test – you are asked to stand still, close your eyes and tilt your head back for 30 seconds.

Finally, you may also be asked to blow into a handheld breathalyzer.  The results of a handheld breathalyzer cannot be used in court, so refusing it is not the same as refusing a Datamaster breathalyzer test at an approved site.

There are many reasons why these tests are unreliable. You need an experienced lawyer to effectively challenge these in court. Call the Bernstein & Bernstein law firm today for a consultation.