Field Sobriety Testing

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Bob in Ontario
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Field Sobriety Testing

by: Bob in Ontario on

I live in a community where drug usage is high . ( no pun intended )

What concerns me is that some day I might be stopped in a R.I.D.E. program and be asked to perform field sobriety testing for drug impairment .

My concern isn't because I do drugs but rather because of a knee replacement and back injury I'm unsteady on my feet at the best of times .

My question is ... Do you have to submit to this type of physical testing ? What would be the result of a refusal ?

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by: Stanton on

Much like failing to provide a breath sample, failing to perform the field sobriety testing can result in a criminal charge. The testing consists of different components, so the inability to perform one part of it (i.e. bad knee) shouldn't result in a "fail". Furthermore, if you do fail the test, much like failing a roadside alcohol screening device, you're taken to the police station for a more comprehensive test by a drug recognition expert. If you fail that second test, a demand is then made for you to provide a urine or saliva sample which gets sent off for analysis to confirm the officer's belief that you're impaired.

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by: Nanuk on

The Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST) used most commonly in Canada are :

The Walk-and-Turn test is when a person must walk heel-to-toe in a straight line.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test. Despite a scary name it is a simple eye test, the stopped person must follow a moving object with the eyes to determine characteristic eye movement reaction. If the person is sober, he or she will be able to track the object smoothly, if not the eyes will jerk as they follow the object.

Finger-to-Nose test. The suspected person must tip head back; close the eyes closed and touch the tip of nose with tip of index finger.

While balance plays a major part, it is not the only deciding factor. Failing these tests would put you in front of a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) who would perform 11 more tests to determine if your impaired by a drug. If after all of these tests the DRE is of the opinion your ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired by a drug a blood or urine sample demand is made by the DRE.

A test by an approved instrument will also be administered to rule out the possibility of alcohol impairment.

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