Minnesota Field Sobriety Test Lawyer

If you’ve been pulled over on suspicion of DWI and an officer asks you to perform a field sobriety test in Minnesota, the first thing you need to do is say “No”. 

Next, call a Minnesota field sobriety test lawyer at Keller Criminal Defense Lawyers at (952) 913-1421 as soon as you are able. 

  • Our DWI attorneys are available 24/7
  • We have over 25 years of experience
  • Initial Consultations are FREE

Our legal team has been helping drivers in St. Paul, Bloomington, and Minneapolis stay out of jail since 1997. Let us make sure your rights, and your freedom, are protected. 

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We provide free initial consultations to all clients. To schedule an appointment, contact us Today.

Pulled Over On Suspicion of DWI? Here’s What to Expect

You’ve been pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI), and the officer has requested that you perform a field sobriety test. Maybe you’ve been drinking. Maybe you haven’t had a sip. Regardless, you’re probably getting a little shaky and your heart is probably racing. Hundreds of questions are spinning around in your head. 

Do you take the test? 

What if you take the test and you fail? 

What happens if you refuse a field sobriety test in Minnesota? 

Do You Have to Take a Field Sobriety Test in Minnesota?

Under Minnesota law, you do not have to submit to a field sobriety test, and doing so is like handing the prosecutor the rope to hang you. These tests are allegedly used to determine whether the officer’s suspicions of impaired driving are correct. No matter how well you do on the test, the officer is almost surely going to fail you. Here’s what to do instead.

  1. Refuse the test. 
  2. Let the officer arrest you. 
  3. Tell law enforcement you want to speak to your attorney at Keller Criminal Defense Lawyers immediately. 

What Happens If You Refuse a FST in Minnesota?

If you refuse to take a field sobriety test in Minnesota, chances are good that you’re going to jail. Since you most likely would have been arrested if you had taken the test, and you haven’t broken any laws by refusing the test, you haven’t lost any ground. 

When you get to the station, cooperate with the officers, but don’t answer any questions about alcohol consumption or driving your vehicle. 

Tell the police that you want to speak to your lawyer, and then call me at (952) 913-1421

What Happens If You Take the Field Sobriety Test and Fail?

If you took the field sobriety test after getting pulled over on suspicion of DWI, and you failed the test, you’re going to go to jail, and you’re going to need to hire a DWI lawyer. While the results of the field sobriety test can be used against you if your case goes to court, FSTs are not foolproof. Factors like fatigue, medical conditions, or nervousness can affect your performance. This doesn’t necessarily indicate intoxication. 

Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys will challenge the test results and their admissibility in court. Call us at (952) 913-1421.

What Happens at the Police Station?

When you get to the police station, the officers are going to read you the implied consent advisory. This advisory explains to you that you provided “implied consent” when you got your Minnesota driver’s license, allowing law enforcement to conduct a blood alcohol content (BAC) test on you. It also explains your legal rights regarding testing. 

Next, officers are going to ask you to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test to determine if you are intoxicated. By law, you have the right to speak to an attorney before taking a test at the station. 

If you haven’t already done so, tell the officers that you want to talk to your lawyer, and then call me at (952) 913-1421.

Our attorneys have counseled countless people who have called us in the middle of the night asking whether to take the chemical test at the station. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. The answer will depend on the facts of your case and your unique circumstances. Our lawyers will help you make the best decision for your situation. 

Contact a Minnesota Field Sobriety lawyer at Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys for help.

How Can Our Field Sobriety Lawyers Help?

Facing a DWI charge after failing a field sobriety test (FST) can be overwhelming. But you don’t have to navigate this alone. Our experienced DWI defense lawyers understand the nuances of FSTs and can help fight your charges. Here’s how:

  • Protect Your Rights: You have a right to refuse FSTs, and our attorneys will ensure your rights are upheld during the traffic stop and arrest.
  • Challenge FST Results: We will analyze the officer’s administration of the tests and identify any flaws or inconsistencies that might weaken the prosecution’s case.
  • Explore Alternative Explanations: Medical conditions, anxiety, or even uneven surfaces can affect FST performance. We’ll explore alternative explanations for your performance on the tests.
  • Negotiate with the Prosecutor: We will negotiate with the prosecutor to seek a dismissal of the charges, a reduction in the charges, or a plea bargain with minimized penalties.
  • Represent You in Court: If your case goes to trial, our skilled attorneys will represent you aggressively, presenting a compelling defense in court.

Types of Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) in Minnesota

There are several types of field sobriety tests that an officer will perform to see if you are, in fact, intoxicated. It is important to remember that under Minnesota law, you are NOT required to do any of these tests. The common FSTs include:

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (Eye Test)

Nystagmus means involuntary jerking of the eyeball. The officer will claim to be able to observe the angle at which your eye begins to jerk. If this “nystagmus” occurs before 45 degrees, the blood alcohol concentration is above .05. The driver is supposed to keep the head still, staring straight ahead. The officer may use a finger or a pencil for the subject to follow with his or her eyes without moving his or her head. The finger or pencil must be 12 to 15 inches away from the subject. The officer conducting the test must keep the stimulus (finger or pen) off to the side of the subject’s eye at 90 degrees for at least four seconds, but many times the officer does not. Finding mistakes like these can get your FST, your arrest and your DWI charges thrown out.

Walk and Turn Test

The driver must make movements while also following instructions given by the officer. This is a “divided attention” task. Intoxicated individuals have a hard time listening to instructions and performing the tasks at the same time. The test is supposed to be performed on a hard, dry surface so that the subject can complete heel-to-toe steps. If an individual exhibits two or more behaviors or “clues” during this test that are indicative of alcohol consumption, the police will claim that the test was failed and that the driver’s alcohol concentration is above .08.

One Leg Stand Test

There are two stages to this test. The first is the instructions given by the officer, which the officer will usually demonstrate. For instance, the officer will demonstrate that the starting position is standing with heels together and arms down to the sides. The subject will also be told to not start the test until told to do so. In the second stage, the officer instructs the subject to stand on one leg while holding the other foot out front around six inches off the ground. The subject is allowed to stand on the leg of his or her choice. The subject must do this for 30 seconds. If he or she struggles, then the police will testify that it is reasonable to believe that the driver’s alcohol content is over .08.

Preliminary Breath Test or Preliminary Screening Test

The police may ask a driver to blow into the preliminary breath test (PBT), a small handheld box held by the officer. It is important to know that you are NOT required to blow into the preliminary breath test. If you refuse, the officer cannot arrest you merely for refusing to take the PBT, but may threaten to. The officer will arrest you if he or she thinks that there is probable cause to believe that you are under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, with or without a PBT result. If you are sure that you are over the limit, you should refuse the preliminary breath test.

You should, however, take the PBT if you think you may blow below a .08. An officer may still arrest you for DWI even if you blow below .08 on the preliminary breath test, depending on many other factors, including your driving conduct.

Other tests such as breath, blood and urine tests at the police station, jail or hospital may also be administered. A PBT may be conducted on site, but may also be conducted after arrest. A blood or urine test will be conducted after the subject has been arrested to determine the exact alcohol level.

Arrested? Our Field Sobriety Test Lawyers Are Available 24/7

If you’ve been arrested, the time to hire an attorney to start preparing your defense is now. Field sobriety test lawyers Max Keller and Barry Edwards are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to make sure your rights are protected. Call us at (952) 913-1421.

Our Minneapolis FST defense lawyers represent clients throughout the Twin Cities metro area and the state of Minnesota, including Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Scott County, Dakota County, Washington County and Sherburne County. We also represent clients in Anoka, Andover, Apple Valley, Blaine, Bloomington, Burnsville, Champlin, Chaska, Coon Rapids, Eagan, Edina, Eden Prairie, Lino Lakes, Lakeville, Maple Grove, Maplewood, Minnetonka, Minneapolis, Plymouth, Richfield, Robbinsdale, Roseville, Woodbury and White Bear Lake.