Roadsides SFST

There is a federal government entity called the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which developed the roadside testing procedures for evaluation of drivers to assess whether they were driving under the influence of alcohol. These tests were not developed for drug assessment; just alcohol.

“Roadside sobriety testing constitutes a full “search” in the constitutional sense of that term and therefore must be supported by Probable Cause. The sole purpose of roadside sobriety testing is to acquire evidence of criminal conduct on the part of the suspect.”

People v Carlson, 677 P.2d 310, Colorado Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of Colorado is saying that when the officer asks you to perform voluntary roadside tests, he or she first must have Probable Cause to arrest you. Then the Supreme Court admits that the sole purpose of roadsides is to collect evidence against you for prosecution. How though, does the officer usually pitch this? Often the officer says something like, “Hey, how about you step out and let me give you some tests to see if you are safe to drive?”. Or “Would you mind letting me test you to see if you are safe to drive?”. They often do not say anything about the tests being “voluntary”. THEN when you ask, “What if I do not want to take the test?” the officer says something like: “Well, I am going to have to take you to jail” or “Well, based on what I have seen, I will have to take you to jail” or “arrest you”. This of course scares the driver and the driver, trying to avoid being arrested or going to jail, submits to the tests. Then, what do you think happens? Yes, they still get arrested. Because, follow this closely………the officer can only arrest you or take you to jail if they have gathered enough information already to form Probable Cause to arrest you. So, if they are already saying that they may have to arrest you or may have to take you to jail, they are telling you that they already have enough information to form Probable Cause and they are on their way anyway to arresting you whether you take the tests or not. There are three tests: Horizontal Gaze and Nystagmus (HGN, also known as “the eye test”); the Walk and Turn Test; and the One Leg Stand Test. While also requested by law enforcement but not one of the approved tests, is the Portable Breath Test device (PBT) which the officer should request after the driver submits to the other three tests and it is supposed to measure whether or not there is alcohol in your system; not give you a definite reliable alcohol level. In another section of my website I can go into these tests, I am writing this for another reason. These tests are voluntary. That means, you do not have to take them and if you decide not to submit to these tests, there will be no penalty. No harm, no foul. The law enforcement officer is supposed to tell you that these tests he or she is asking you to complete, that they are voluntary and you do not have to submit to them and there will be no adverse consequences if you do not. So, by submitting to the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, or roadsides, you are simply giving the law enforcement officer more ammunition to arrest and prosecute you with. Building his or her case against you. You are unwittingly handing the officer evidence to be used against you by the prosecutor to show you are driving under the influence of or impaired by alcohol. I would say rarely does someone take the tests and “pass”. People do not “pass” these tests.