Do I have to submit to a field sobriety test in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania’s implied consent law only applies to the official, post-arrest chemical tests. The driver must comply with the post-arrest tests. Refusal may result in consequences. However, the law does not require a driver to submit to a roadside field sobriety test.

Many drivers pulled over by the police do not know that it is their right to refuse to take a field sobriety test. Drivers are often told that a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test is mandatory. That is not the case and refusing to take the test is not illegal.

If pulled over, ask to speak to a lawyer. Once the driver asks to speak to legal counsel, the police must stop all procedures, questioning and the field sobriety test.

The typical field-sobriety-test includes:

  • The follow the finger test
  • The one-leg stand test
  • The walk/turn test
  • The finger-to-nose test
  • The fingers to thumb test
  • The heel-to-toe test
  • The recitation of the alphabet test

It is important to note that drivers with a medical condition that affects vision, coordination, hearing and/or balance may have problems with a field sobriety test. Bad weather may also affect test results.

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