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Do Motorists in Louisiana Have to Submit to Field Sobriety Tests?



One of the most frequently asked questions that motorist ask about DWI or DUI law is, “Can I refuse to take the roadside field sobriety tests after a DWI stop?” The short answer is yes. In Louisiana, a motorist is not required to submit to field sobriety tests. These tests are used by law enforcement officers to gather evidence of intoxication. Often, if the police officer is not able to gather evidence from the motorist by use of one or more of the field sobriety tests, he will have very little evidence that the motorist was driving while intoxicated. Often, traffic stops are made when a motorist is observed committing a minor traffic violation such as drifting or swerving to the left and making contact with the center line or turning to the right and making contact with the

fog line that runs along the shoulder of a highway, or travelling in a vehicle at night without the taillights or headlights illuminated. These occurrences are not evidence of intoxication, only that the motor violated a traffic law.


Consequently, without the motorists agreeing to conduct the field sobriety tests, the officer could generally only state that state that the stopped motorist violated a minor traffic law or perhaps that he smelled alcohol or drugs when he approached the motorist. This type of evidence should not be sufficient for a DWI or DUI arrest. And if the motorist is polite to the officer, the officer is likely to say, while letting the motorist go, “Alright, drive carefully, and have a nice day!” The idea is, if the motorist is polite to the officer, the officer, having no other reason to arrest the motorist, is likely to reciprocate and be polite to the motorist, giving credence to the old adage, “The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude.”


This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. © 2018-2020 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law.

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