Field sobriety tests are a way that the authorities check on the mental and physical condition of drivers on the roads. Drivers who cannot pass these tests aren't necessarily intoxicated or using drugs, but they could have issues occurring that make it dangerous to be behind the wheel.
Also known as roadside sobriety tests, field sobriety tests normally take place before a Breathalyzer tests. There are three primary tests including tests to identify if you can stand on one foot, if you can walk in a straight line and if your eyes move from side to side in the correct manner.
If you fail any of these tests, it doesn't mean you aren't sober, but it could mean that you are impaired. That's why a Breathalyzer test may be the next step. You can refuse it, but if you do, you'll lose your license. When you get a license in most states, you're giving the authorities the right to ask for a breath sample upon suspicion of intoxication.
There are other reasons you could fail a field sobriety test other than intoxication or drug use. Poor balance from medical conditions, weakness, seizure disorders and other problems can make it hard for some people to complete these tests.
If you fail a road sobriety test, it is your right to challenge the results, especially if the authorities could use those results against you in court. Your attorney will help you prepare a defense and make sure to thoroughly question the use of these tests when determining if you are intoxicated.
Source: FindLaw, "Field Sobriety Tests," accessed May 30, 2018