field sobriety tests in south carolina

Everyone makes mistakes, and if you get behind the wheel after having a little too much to drink, it can quickly become a major problem even if you don’t hurt anyone. Police actively look for individuals who may be driving under the influence and, if they suspect that you’ve had one too many, they may subject you to a field sobriety test. Here’s what your South Carolina DUI attorney wants you to know about these tests.

What Is a Field Sobriety Test?

Field sobriety tests are methods that law enforcement officers use to assess a person’s sobriety out on the road. They can occur anytime an officer thinks you’re driving under the influence. 

Sometimes, officers may pull you over for erratic driving. But during the summer months and around holidays, officers may ask you to go through a field sobriety test at DUI checkpoints if they notice certain warning signs like the following:

  • Visible cans, bottles, or containers of alcohol
  • Strong-smelling breath
  • Slurred speech

If the officer believes you may be driving under the influence, they can ask you to step out of the car and go through a field sobriety test.

The Types of Tests They May Request

There are several different types of tests that officers can use during field sobriety checks to assess your level of intoxication. These include the following:

  • The walk and turn test: This tests has you walk in a straight line, often heel-to-toe until you reach a specific spot. Then, you’re expected to turn around without moving off the line. 
  • The one-legged stand: This test asks you to stand on one leg for a set amount of time, often between 10 and 20 seconds.
  • The horizontal eye check: This test checks your ability to follow an object, often the officer’s pen or a flash light, with your eyes while not moving your head.
  • The breath test: Often referred to as the “breathalyzer” test, this test checks for the presence of alcohol on your breath and measures the concentration of alcohol with reasonable accuracy. 

These tests are not foolproof which is why officers are encouraged not to rely on them solely when making arrests. 

Can You Refuse a Field Sobriety Test?

You’re free to refuse to participate in a field sobriety test if you’re pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence. And your refusal cannot legally be used against you if your case goes to trial. But it’s important to note that you may still be arrested and taken to jail even if you refuse to perform the test. 

Remember, the test is a tool that officers can use to decide if you’re under the influence. It’s not the only tool they have at their disposal, nor is it the only tool they’ll use to determine your sobriety. If they believe you’re under the influence and you refuse to do the test, they will use their other tools to determine if it’s safe to let you continue driving.

Speak With a South Carolina DUI Attorney

If you’ve been pulled over and arrested for suspected DUI after refusing or failing a field sobriety test, you’ll want to speak with a South Carolina DUI attorney as soon as possible. At Truslow and Truslow, our team is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.