Everything You Need to Know About Pennsylvania Field Sobriety Tests

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
July 5, 2023

If you get pulled over by Pennsylvania police, they may ask you to take a field sobriety test if they suspect you of driving under the influence. Before this happens, it may be helpful to know what these tests are, if you can refuse them, and what happens if you do.

If an office has administered these tests and arrested you for a DUI or DWI, you have the right to contact our award-winning legal team at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. We may be able to help you fight for your rights and reduce your charges. In the best-case scenario, your charges may be dismissed.

What Are Field Sobriety Tests?

While breathalyzer tests measure the amount of alcohol in the air when you exhale, field sobriety tests measure your cognitive awareness, physical capabilities, and the ability to follow directions. These tests include the following:

  • Standing on one leg
  • Following an object with your eyes
  • Walking heel-to-toe in a straight line and walking back

Police officers use these tests to see if you are impaired in any way by testing your balance and reflex response. However, these tests are not chemical-based, so they may not be as reliable. Your field sobriety test results are often based on the officer’s opinion of your actions, which are subjective. 

Can You Refuse a Field Sobriety Test in Pennsylvania?

When a police officer pulls you over at a DUI stop or checkpoint, they typically already have their suspicions about your state of mind, but they have to have probable cause to make an arrest. They often administer field sobriety tests as a means to attain probable cause. That said, Pennsylvania law allows you to refuse these tests, so officers cannot use them as a reason to arrest you. 

In addition, you also have the right to refuse to answer when a police officer asks you questions about your whereabouts or if you have been drinking. Any answers to these questions may incriminate you, so politely declining to respond gives the officer even less probable cause to arrest you. 

What Happens if You Refuse a Field Sobriety Test? 

Ideally, refusing a field sobriety test should have little to no negative consequences if done politely. An officer cannot force you to take the test, nor can they suspend your license for refusing the test. The only tests required by law in these circumstances are blood, urine, and breath tests.

While refusing a breath, urine, or blood test can have serious consequences, you cannot be prosecuted for turning down a field sobriety test. If you do get arrested, our professional legal team has extensive knowledge of your rights and the laws regarding sobriety testing to build a strong case and reduce your charges.

Contact a Pennsylvania DUI Lawyer at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C.

If a police officer pulls you over at a DUI stop, it is important to know your rights before answering questions or submitting to testing. In Pennsylvania, you have the right not to answer an officer’s questions and refuse a field sobriety test. If you do get arrested for a DUI, our talented attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. may be able to help you.

Our skilled and knowledgeable team of professionals has been serving Pennsylvania for over 65 years. We are well-versed in DUI laws and have experience in all types of cases. With our vast experience, we may help you gather and examine evidence and fight for your rights. For a free consultation, fill out our contact form or call us at (215) 822-7575.

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
Pennsylvania Attorney's
July 5, 2023
Established in 1952 by Irwin S. Rubin, Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. boasts over 65 years of experience serving clients throughout Pennsylvania. Renowned for its commitment to ethical representation, the firm has garnered prestigious accolades, including being named the "Best Law Firm" for its outstanding legal defense work by U.S. News & World Report. Their team of seasoned attorneys, recognized as Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars, brings unparalleled expertise to a wide range of legal matters, ensuring exceptional representation for individuals, families, businesses, and organizations.