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Field Sobriety Tests: Attorney Sloan Believes That a Refusal Is Better Than a Failure

Basically, because you refused to do it you probably would have failed. I believe a refusal is still much better than actually doing the test and them pointing out all of the things that you did wrong. Than supposedly having proof that you were impaired because you could not do the test in the first place.

Interviewer: That is actually what I was going to ask you, if you would recommend doing them as opposed to not doing them. You would still recommend not performing the field sobriety tests.

If You Refuse, You Can Justify Your Decision during Your Trial

Brian: Yes, absolutely. I think you respectfully decline to do them and you can always testify about your decision at the trial because the prosecutor will try to make the point that you refused because you were impaired.

The client can take the stand and say” I didn’t do the test because I have balance issues and I didn’t want to give the officer the wrong impression that I was impaired.”

Interviewer: I know you can’t give specifics, but how often is this defense successful? Is it usually a pretty solid defense?

Brian: I think it is always better for the person to refuse the field sobriety test. The officer is always going to say that the person failed the field sobriety test even if they do perform it very well.

Declining the Field Sobriety Tests Is a Defensible Issue during Trial

The officer is always going to chalk it up that a failure was due to alcohol impairment, or drug or medication impairment. Our argument is always going to be that generally people don’t have good balance. They don’t naturally have good balance.

Your Defense Attorney Will Point out the Difficulty That Any Person Would Experience in Correctly Performing the Field Sobriety Tests

I will often tell the jury that, basically, the field sobriety test should be ignored because the only people that can really do it are ballerinas, gymnasts, and police officers because they practice so much.

It is not uncommon for either the prosecutor or I to ask the officer to demonstrate these field sobriety tests. Even in open court the officer can’t successfully do the field sobriety tests. They try to explain that they need to keep their foot up for 30 seconds.

You will see the officer tap his foot down on the ground just as any normal person would do. And then this question naturally follows, “Officer, are you impaired by alcohol?”

Interviewer: Have you said that during a trial?

The Defense Attorney Will Try to Instill Reasonable Doubt in the Minds of the Jurors

Brian: I haven’t gone that far. But I’ve tried to explain to the jury. The defense attorney is not really allowed to interact with the jury. I can’t really directly instruct them about something, that is the judge’s responsibility.

What I can do is try to put an idea into their minds as much as possible. In this instance, the idea I try to instill is that if these jurors had gone back and attempted to do these field sobriety tests being a hundred percent sober, they would not be able to do them.

I may have asked an officer once or twice if they were drunk.

Interviewer: We covered horizontal gaze Nystagmus and the walking turn tests. Are there other standard field sobriety tests that people will encounter during a police stop?

The One Leg Stand Test

Brian: Yes. One of the other tests is the one leg stand. This is where basically the officers are looking to see if the person sways while balancing, if they use their arms for balance by raising them six inches or more from their side and to see if they’re hopping during the test.

What Are the Police Officers Looking For During the Administration of this Test?

The officer will look to see if they put their foot down or to see if they simply cannot do the test because they put their foot down three or more times. Many people can’t keep their foot up that long. It doesn’t matter if they’re sober, drunk, old, young, people cannot do this for a sustained period of time.

The officers are trying to attribute it to alcohol. They’ll see if you put your foot down even temporarily. They are watching if you count incorrectly, if you count for too long, if you stop the test, and if you raise your arms more than six inches from your side.

They really don’t tell you that any of these actions are going to be used as strikes against you. But that’s what they’re looking for. That’s what they’re marking you down as doing. Inevitably, just about everyone fails these tests.

By Brian Douglas Sloan

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Brian Douglas Sloan


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Why DUI Attorney Brian Douglas Sloan?


19+ Years SOLELY Focused on DUI Defense


4,200+ DUIs Successfully Defended

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  • Only DUI "Power Lawyer" in the Nation Featured in USA Today, 2022

  • Top 10 in Arizona

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“I am one of only a handful of Phoenix DUI Lawyers that focuses solely on DUI Defense representation.”

I have spent my entire career SOLELY focused on Arizona DUI Defense Representation, having personally defended more than 4,400 Driving Under the Influence (DUI) clients in the past 19+ years.

If you’re looking for a Divorce Attorney, Tax Attorney, Civil Attorney, etc., I can comfortably say, "I’m not the one for you." I ONLY defend DUI cases in most of Maricopa County, Arizona.

Coming up with traditional, as well as outside-the-box motions and defenses for my clients, often with good results, is the hallmark of my practice.

Lawyers that say they are "aggressive" or "will fight for you" are a dime a dozen. They use these phrases because it is a proven advertising phrase. Being "aggressive" isn’t the same as being good, and is often used to put on a show to hide the fact that they aren’t doing anything meaningful for the client.

The same is true for the Lawyers claiming to do DUI Defense, and Criminal Cases, and Accident Cases, and Divorces, etc. A Jack-of-all-Trades is a master of none! By handling all sorts of cases, they take away from their ability to truly focus on DUIs, and keep up-to-date on the latest changes in DUI Defense Representation.

What I offer is intelligent, quality DUI Defense at an exceptional price. Unlike many other law firms, if you hire The Law Offices of Brian D. Sloan, you actually get me representing you, doing all the work, and working the case. You aren’t hiring one guy with all the experience, but getting the underling with very little knowledge or experience.

I work seven days a week on my client’s cases, and spend hours laying all my thoughts out for my clients in writing, so they can understand their options, and my recommendations. No other DUI Lawyer in the state does this. I try to do what I can to go above-and-beyond for my clients. I hate when the businesses I deal with nickel-and-dime me with hidden costs, and I take pride in not doing that to my clients.

I have not only taught other lawyers how to do DUI Defense Representation at statewide seminars, but I have produced DUI Legal Guides used by defense lawyers across Arizona.

I am one of Arizona's most award-winning DUI Defense Lawyers, as well as being recognized nationally. I was the only DUI Defense Lawyer in the United States named a "Power Lawyer" in a 2022 issue of USA Today

There are no other private Lawyers in Arizona that have personally defended more DUI cases than I have. And as a bonus, I offer a very reasonable flat rate for my legal services, with a payment plan, and without any hidden charges. This guarantees that I offer some of the most competitive rates among all Arizona DUI Attorneys, while being a well-documented and preeminent leader in the field of DUI Defense Representation.

Over the years, countless people have come to me after discovering that their first lawyer made a mistake, gave them false hope or false promises, or simply took their money and didn't do much to advance their case. And you would be surprised at how often this happens.

So, instead of wasting time and money on the wrong DUI Defense Attorney, do yourself a favor and get the proven and well-recognized best DUI Lawyer in Phoenix and the surrounding areas of Maricopa County.

You can reach me on my personal cell phone at 480-720-7839 for a Free ‘In Depth’ Consultation.

I personally defend DUI cases in urban Maricopa County City, Town, and Justice Courts, including:

Ahwatukee / Agua Fria / Arcadia Biltmore / Avondale / Buckeye / Chandler / Country Meadows / Desert Ridge / Dreamy Draw / Downtown / East Mesa / El Centro / Encanto / Gilbert / Glendale / Goodyear / Guadalupe / Highland / Kyrene / Litchfield Park / Maryvale / McDowell Mountain / Mesa / Moon Valley / North Mesa / Peoria / Phoenix / Queen Creek / San Marcos / San Tan / South Mountain / Scottsdale / Tempe / University Lakes / West McDowell / West Mesa / White Tank

For any other Courts in the State of Arizona, including Felony cases, I would recommend my associates on The Arizona DUI Team, whom I work closely with, but I am not the one personally representing the client.

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Brian Douglas Sloan

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