In the state of Colorado, you have the right to refuse a field sobriety test without risking the loss of driving privileges. Many drivers are unaware of this and end up being coerced into taking a test by the threat of automatic license suspension by a police officer. If this happens to you, do not hesitate to retain the services of a seasoned Colorado DUI defense attorney.
An officer in Colorado must establish probable cause before he can arrest and require you to submit to a blood or chemical test. Field sobriety tests are conducted to establish probable cause. Drivers suspected of DUI are asked to perform a Horizontal Gaze (HGN), Walk-and-Turn (WAT) and a One-Leg Stand (OLS) test. The HGN test requires the driver to follow a slowly moving object like a pen or small flashlight horizontally with his eyes so the officer can observe how well his eyes track a moving object. The OLS and WAT tests gauge a driver’s balance and divided attention. The driver is instructed to take 9 steps in a straight line, stepping heel to toe, then turn on one foot and return in the same manner in the opposite direction. If the driver has difficulty keeping his balance without using his arms, strays off the line, turns improperly, starts walking before the officer is done giving instructions or takes more or less steps than instructed, he fails.
Field sobriety tests are voluntary. If you end up taking one, the results can be used against you in court. An experienced Colorado DUI attorney can review how your arrest was handled and see if any improper conduct occurred. Should it be discovered that improprieties were committed; your DUI conviction could be thrown out entirely.