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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 law firm of Bernstein & Bernstein today for a consultation.