Field Sobriety Testing in Georgia

DUI Arrests Involving Sobriety Testing in Georgia

Field Sobriety Testing in Morgan County, Georgia

Being stopped by police at a sobriety test checkpoint or pulled over on suspicion of DUI in Morgan County, Georgia can be an intimidating experience. The most important advice is: stay calm and obey the officer’s commands to produce your license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance.

However, you need not comply and submit to field sobriety testing in Georgia. Such tests are intended to determine through a series of physical and verbal tasks whether the driver is operating a vehicle while intoxicated. These tests are unreliable because they rely on the subjective judgments of the police, who are often looking for evidence to prove their hunch was right: that you are indeed driving DUI.

If you did take a series of field sobriety tests, you still might have significant defenses to any charge of DUI. Only a skilled and experienced field Sobriety tests Georgia lawyer knows how to review the police and toxicology reports, if any, to determine how to proceed in your best interests. Michael Fulcher Law knows DUI law, with over 17-years of experience as a prosecutor, public defender, and privately retained defense counsel. That experience includes a deep understanding of how to defend your driving privileges as well as criminal procedure and familiarity with all the players—police, prosecutors, and judges—in Morgan, Greene, Putnam, Taliaferro and Jasper Counties.

Michael Fulcher Law will fiercely defend your driving rights, honestly assess the strength of the prosecution’s case, and advise you on a course of action to protect your rights and defenses.

What is Field Sobriety Testing in Georgia?

It’s important to note that a refusal to submit to a variety of field sobriety tests in Georgia does not constitute a DUI refusal. There is no implied consent to take these tests.

A field sobriety evaluation is voluntary. There are several types of field sobriety evaluations, all of which are exercises made difficult if one is intoxicated: a Horizonal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test, a Walk and Turn, and the One-Leg Stand test. In addition, officers might ask you to recite the alphabet, stand with your feet close together while tipping your head skyward, count the number of fingers the officer has raised, close your eyes and touch a finger to your nose, or count backwards. The officers are looking for a variety of signs of impairment: eye jerking, inability to maintain balance, beginning the task before instructed to, using one’s arms to maintain balance, and inability to follow instructions. These tests are quite subjective. Different officers interpret a driver’s performance differently.

This subjectivity undermines the accuracy of the test. Any number of factors can contribute to failing a field sobriety evaluation: an uneven pavement, the time of day, weather conditions, your health, poor vision or hearing, and poor balance. Fear and intimidation might also contribute to the inability to follow instructions. Police are looking for confirmation of their suspicions which can skewer their interpretation of how you performed.

Remember, there are no legal consequences attaching to a refusal to perform field sobriety evaluations. However, the results of any field sobriety tests will be noted in the police report and can be used to justify arrest. Field sobriety tests are not admissible as evidence of impairment at trial. Always contact your field sobriety test attorney in Georgia to defend your case!


Facing legal challenges, whether it’s a DUI, criminal charge, or navigating traffic-related offenses, requires a skilled advocate. Turn to Michael Fulcher Law for a blend of legal expertise and unwavering client service from a former Georgia prosecutor. Discover the optimal legal solution for your situation by calling our criminal defense law firm at (706) 438-1555 or reaching out online. Schedule your free consultation today and gain a clearer path forward.

What are the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in Georgia?

There are three field sobriety tests that have been developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which allegedly can establish alcohol impairment. While law enforcement officials are allowed to use any combination of the following 3 tests when assessing drivers, the evidence of the “inability” to perform is subjective, leaving open the ability to question other factors that might be affecting the driver’s capacity at that time.

The three test are as follows:

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test

Police will ask you to track with your eyes the movement of a pen or finger. Police are looking for jerky movements, in all 6 potential signs of intoxication. However, even caffeine or aspirin might cause the same eye reactions.

Walk and Turn Test

Police will ask you to walk nine steps, heel to toe, looking for imbalance, failure to keep walking in a straight line, and use of arms to maintain balance.

One Leg Test

Police will ask you to stand with one foot held 6 inches off the ground while counting out loud. Again, officers are looking for signs of imbalance, inability to keep your foot off the ground, use of arms to maintain balance, and swaying or hopping.

None of these tests are objective evidence of insobriety. These tests are subjective and a skilled and competent sobriety test lawyer will fight to keep these results out of evidence, as a way of narrowing the prosecutor’s case.

Michael Fulcher Law can help you. With more than a decade of combined experience as a prosecutor and as a public defender before opening a private practice, Michael Fulcher Law can provide you with the best criminal defense to a DUI charge. Knowing the criminal statutes, the rules of evidence, and criminal procedure is only the beginning. Added to this knowledge base is 17 years of experience working in Morgan County and the surrounding areas, so that Michael Fulcher Law knows the reputations of police, prosecutors, and judges. This combination of legal savvy and experience with the players means the most skilled and competent legal defense you can find.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, a refusal to take field sobriety tests is not considered a DUI refusal that triggers automatic suspension of your driver’s license. However, if you have a prior DUI conviction, are a driver under the age of 21, or act erratically, you will likely be arrested. Once at the station, you are under a legal obligation to submit to State-administered breath, blood, or urine tests. If you refuse, it is a DUI refusal, and you can lose your license for a year.

No, you do not have to take a field sobriety test in Georgia. You are merely providing the police with unreliable evidence of impairment to justify their stop, and your arrest.

Yes, at least one-third of sober people fail a field sobriety test! Several factors might impact your performance: medical condition, anxiety, fatigue, inability to understand the instructions because of language, hearing impairment, being overweight, or just the noise, and confusion at the site.


“Mr. Fulcher has been tremendously helpful with my case. Since hiring him he has consistently returned my calls as quickly as he can. We discussed an ideal outcome, and I set about doing exactly as he said. Following his advice we were able to get a very favorable outcome. He is always quick to answer any questions, and has stayed very engaged with me throughout this ordeal. Michael provides excellent counsel, and I would recommend him to anyone!”