Facing a Sobriety Test in Washington DC? Just Say No.

If you’re stopped under the suspicion of drunk driving, the police officer may ask you to do certain things to prove that you are capable of safely driving your vehicle.  These are called sobriety tests.

There are three (3) standard sobriety tests in Washington, DC.  The police officer  who stops you under the suspicion of drunk driving may ask you to perform a (i) “one-leg stand” which consists if you standing on one leg and either counting or reciting the alphabet, (ii) “walk turn” by taking nine steps forward, turning around on one foot and taking nine steps back, or (iii) “horizontal gaze nystagmus” (aka “HGN”) test, which gauges your ability to track a moving object (aka “a pen”) with your eyes.   If you are asked to take any of these tests, just say no.

Sobriety tests are not your friend, even if you don’t think you have had that much to drink.


If you’ve had even one drink and you are driving, here are three reasons to think twice about taking a sobriety test.

  1. You do not know if you will pass the test.  Not only are sobriety tests not scientifically accurate, instead they are based on the officer’s perception and judgment.  In addition, lot of things can be distracting (like the bright headlights of the police vehicle) and cause you to fail the test.  In addition, not all police officers are good at conducting sobriety tests.   To make things worse, lots of officers have not been properly trained in conducting sobriety tests.  Bad or confusing instructions from a poorly trained police officer can result in you failing a sobriety test.
  2. It is your word against the police officer.  Most sobriety tests are not on video, meaning the results and conditions of the test are your word against the officer’s word.   Guess who gets the benefit of any doubt?  Not you.
  3. You are not required by law to take a sobriety test.  Now, you may get arrested if you do not agree to take a sobriety test; however, you will likely get arrested anyway.  So, just say no.

Have we answered you questions about sobriety tests?   Contact the Law Office of Michael Bruckheim at (240) 753-8222 if you’re facing a DWI or DUI charge in Washington DC or Maryland for a complimentary consultation.

You May Also Like