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Are You Legally Required to Take Field Sobriety Tests?

In the state of Maryland, law enforcement officers use field sobriety tests to help determine whether or not citizens are intoxicated while driving. While the implied consent law has clear penalties for refusing a chemical sobriety test, the guidelines surrounding field sobriety tests aren’t as clear. Here is some helpful information regarding field sobriety tests, that could help you in the event you are pulled over for a suspected DUI.

What Are Field Sobriety Tests?

Field sobriety tests are a battery of physical tests that assess a driver’s mental and physical impairments. They are typically conducted after a police officer has already deemed one’s driving to be dangerous and initiated a stop. The three most common field sobriety tests used in Maryland are:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test (HGN): The police offer will ask the driver to follow a moving object with their eyes.
  • One-Leg Stand test (OLS): The police offer will ask the driver to stand on one foot, with the other foot six inches off the ground, for 30 seconds.
  • Walk and Turn test (W&T): In a heel-to-toe manner, the driver must walk in a straight line forward, pivot, and walk back to the original starting spot.

Field sobriety tests differ from chemical sobriety tests because chemical sobriety tests use a person’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) to determine intoxication, while field sobriety tests are left to the discretion of the police offer performing the tests.

What is Implied Consent and Do You Have to Submit to Field Sobriety Tests?

Maryland has an implied consent law, which means that anyone who is driving a vehicle automatically consents to take a chemical sobriety test, (i.e., breathalyzer or blood test) if they are pulled over under suspicion of DWI or DUI. Refusing to take a breathalyzer test or blood test could have severe consequences separate from a possible DUI conviction in court.

However, the implied consent law does not mention anything regarding field sobriety tests. This is because field sobriety tests are voluntary in the state of Maryland. There are no penalties associated with refusing a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are highly subjective and inherently biased, which is why we advise politely refusing to submit to them.

What Should I Do If Pulled Over for Suspected DUI In Maryland?

In the event you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, it is important you know your rights, including your right to refuse to submit to field sobriety testing. It’s a good idea to contact your representation at Mobley & Brown, LLP immediately to determine your best legal options and protect you from the serious consequences of a DUI conviction.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP to Secure the Most Positive Outcome After a DUI Conviction

If you or someone you know is dealing with the aftermath of a DUI conviction, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.