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Your Rights During a Field Sobriety Test in Idaho

Written by: Jacques Law Office

What to Do If You Are Under Suspicion of Drunk Driving

Getting pulled over and asked by law enforcement to perform a field sobriety test can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you don’t know your rights. In the state of Idaho, understanding your legal rights during a field sobriety test is essential in protecting yourself and ensuring the best possible outcome. This article explains what you can and cannot do if you find yourself in this situation.

Harsh penalties can result from a drunk driving conviction. That is why it is crucial to speak with an attorney right away. Contact Jacques Law to discuss your case with a top drunk driving defense lawyer in Boise.

What Are Field Sobriety Tests?

Field sobriety tests are physical and mental tests law enforcement uses to determine whether a motorist is impaired. They assess balance, coordination, and a person’s ability to follow specific directions. Common field sobriety tests include the following:


The motorist is asked to take a certain number of steps along a straight line, turn, and take the same number of steps back. The police officer will look for signs of imbalance, difficulty following instructions, or the inability to maintain a straight line.

One-Leg Stand

The driver is told to stand on one leg while raising the other foot a few inches off the ground. The person is also instructed to count out loud for a certain duration. Law enforcement officers will look for signs of hopping, swaying, or the inability to maintain balance.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

The officer moves an object, such as a pen or flashlight, horizontally in front of the driver’s eyes. The individual is asked to follow the object with their eyes without moving their head. Law enforcement will look for Nystagmus or involuntary jerking of the eyes. The onset of nystagmus at certain angles is a sign of impairment.


The motorist is asked to close their eyes, tilt their head back, and touch the tip of their nose with their index finger. The officer will assess the individual’s accuracy, coordination, and ability to perform the task.

Romberg Balance Test

The driver is told to stand with their feet together, with their head tilted back and eyes closed. They are then instructed to estimate the time it takes for 30 seconds to pass. Law enforcement will look for imbalance, swaying, and instability. 

Backward Alphabet or Counting

The officer asks the driver to recite the alphabet backward or count backward from a certain number. The officer will assess the person's ability to follow instructions, level of concentration, and cognitive function.

Your Right to Refuse a Field Sobriety Test

First, knowing that you can refuse a field sobriety test in Idaho is important. While law enforcement will likely request that you perform these tests should they suspect you were driving under the influence (DUI), you are not legally obligated to comply. However, you should also understand that refusing to take a field sobriety test might lead to serious consequences, such as the suspension of your driver's license.

Remaining Silent

Regardless of whether you decide to perform a field sobriety test, you do have the right to remain silent. You are in no way obligated to answer the officer’s questions. It is best to politely inform law enforcement that you wish to remain silent until you consult with an attorney.

Requesting to Speak with a Lawyer

Be sure to remember that you do have the right to request a lawyer. Consulting with an attorney before answering questions or participating in tests can help you protect your rights and make informed decisions.

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Boise for Free

Knowing your rights during a traffic stop is crucial in navigating what could be a very stressful situation. While you can refuse to take a field sobriety test, you may face harsher consequences if you choose to do so. If you find yourself facing a DUI charge, the best course of action is to consult with an attorney immediately. Your attorney will protect your rights and provide the information you need to make informed decisions.

Have you been charged with driving under the influence? Jacques Law can help. With years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer and former prosecuting attorney, Michael Jacques knows the ins and outs of the legal process and can effectively defend you against any serious criminal charges. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation case review.

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If you’re facing criminal charges, don’t wait to get the help you need.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a caring criminal defense attorney. We understand that this is a difficult time for you, and we’re here to provide the support and guidance you need. Our team is committed to defending your rights and protecting your freedom. Call us now or fill out the contact form below to get started. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you through this challenging situation.

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