If you are pulled over because a police officer believes that you are in violation of DWI law, you may be asked to perform a series of simple physical or cognitive tests to determine sobriety.
Field sobriety tests provide officers probable cuase to arrest drivers on the suspicion of driving under the influence. The standard field sobriety tests include the following:
- One-legged stand
- Walk and turn
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus (eye test)
- Preliminary breath test (PBT)
In addition to the standard tests, officers may also administer other tests to gauge a driver’s sobriety:
- Stand with feet together while tipping the head backward
- Touch nose with index finger
- Count the number of fingers raised by the officer
- Recite the alphabet (or a portion of it)
- Count backwards
Most drivers try to be cooperative and simply perform the tests requested by law enforcement; however, you are NOT legally required to take a field sobriety test. Be aware though, failure to perform the field sobriety tests may be considered cause for the officer to arrest you.
Although it is not a crime to decline the field sobriety test, you are required to consent to a chemical test if arrested. If an officer asks you to take a chemical test, it will be an analysis of your breath, blood, or urine. Refusing to take the chemical test IS a crime in Minnesota. You may be charged with a refusal if you do not submit to a breath test (different from a PBT) or if you refuse to take a blood AND urine test. It is not a crime to refuse a blood or urine test–it is only illegal to refuse both.