Miranda Warnings and Field Sobriety Tests
So, there you are by the side of the road, blue lights flashing and an officer at your window. The officer asks you to get out and perform some field sobriety tests. You comply, because honestly, you’re not going to run from the police while on the street, but did they do it correctly?
Miranda is not requiredWell, according to the Utah Courts, officers are not required to read you the Miranda warning before doing the tests. The court in Salt Lake City v. Carner, stated that field sobriety tests are done for the purpose of investigating to see if a crime has been committed. The defendant in that case argued that he felt “compelled” do to the tests and therefore it must have been a violation of his constitutional rights. But the court said that “officers are entitled to investigate circumstances at the scene without giving the defendant a Miranda warning.” Carner (1983).
Listen to the instructionsStandard Field Sobriety tests (SFST's) are divided attention tests. Which means that the officer is trying to make you do two things at one time, such as standing in a certain position while listening to the instructions. Make no mistake the officer is watching you even before the tests have begun, he/she is watching to see if you can follow simply instructions.
Ask Questions.It is perfectly fine to ask questions about the tests. If you do not understand what the officer wants you to do ask! Otherwise your failure to do the tests correctly made be seen as proof that you are impaired.