Are field sobriety tests mandatory in Mississippi?

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2022 | DUI |

Mississippi works on the basis of implied consent for drivers. You drive on the condition that you consent to chemical testing.

The police often use field sobriety tests to give them a basis to arrest someone. Yet they are not mandatory, and if you want to refuse, you can, however much the officers try to pressure you to take one.

Why do the police ask people to take field sobriety tests?

The police can still give you a drunk driving charge even if you read under the legal limit on a chemical test. To do so, they need to have some reason to suspect you were impaired. If they can report that you failed a field sobriety test, it makes it more likely they can convince a judge they had a valid reason to arrest you and charge you.

Field sobriety tests are notoriously unreliable

There are only three official tests:

  • Walk and turn
  • Look at my light or finger
  • Stand on one leg

The three together prove fairly accurate, according to the National Highways Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA). Yet some police officers use their own tests, which are far less accurate. They might do so through habit because they know you are more likely to fail them or because they want to take you down a notch and make you look stupid in front of your passengers.

Whatever their reason and whatever field sobriety tests they try to get you to perform, you have the right to say no. Defending a DUI begins with understanding your rights. Ringing for legal help is a smart first move.