DUI field sobriety tests

If a police officer in Nevada suspects that a person is driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination thereof, the suspect is likely to be asked to perform what are known as standard field sobriety tests. Those consist of the following:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test
  • Walking and turning test
  • Standing on one leg test

Note that a police officer who suspects that a driver is under the influence cannot command or compel that driver to take these tests. They are not mandatory under any Nevada law. The police officer can only ask that the tests be performed. As it’s likely that the subject is going to be taken into custody anyway on a suspected DUI, there’s no reason for him or her to provide the police and prosecutors with additional evidence to support a conviction, especially when performance of these tests is almost always video recorded.

Portable breath testing
Aside from the standard field sobriety tests, the investigating officer might ask the driver to submit to roadside portable breath testing. Again, this testing is not mandatory. Although results of a portable breath test might be admissible in court for purposes of showing probable cause for an arrest, they’re not admissible for purposes of proving guilt on the ultimate issue of whether the defendant was under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination thereof while operating a motor vehicle.

Unless you haven’t consumed any alcohol at all, there’s no good reason to perform any field sobriety tests or provide a roadside breath sample in a portable breath testing device. Remember that you cannot be compelled to submit to field sobriety tests of any kind. You can politely refuse them. The more evidence you give the prosecution, the more the likelihood of a DUI conviction increases. Take that into consideration if you’re stopped by the police on a suspected DUI.