When you obtain a Maryland driver’s license, you essentially agree to undergo a field sobriety test if you are ever stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence. Nevertheless, there is no legal penalty for refusing to submit to a field sobriety test in Maryland.

Often, roadside field sobriety tests can give the law enforcement officer who stopped you even more cause to arrest you. Even if you are arrested, any failed field sobriety tests cannot be used against you in court.

Contact our law firm today by calling (410) 484-0400 and scheduling a time to come and speak with a member of our legal team regarding field sobriety tests and DUI law.

What Types of Field Sobriety Tests are Administered in Maryland?

Types of Field Sobriety Tests

There are three most often used types of field sobriety tests that are administered in Maryland:

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

In this particular test, you are told to track the officer’s finger, flashlight, or pen with your eyes and not by moving your head side to side. The officer is observing your eye movements and looking to see if your eye jerks, which is termed Nystagmus. Ideally, your eye should track an object smoothly.


There are actually two phases to the test. One is the explanation of the test, and the other is the actual test itself. In the beginning, the individual who has been pulled over has to stand a certain way and wait for the instructions to begin the test. If they do not stand in the correct position or begin too soon, these can be clues that the individual is too impaired to drive.

After the test begins, the person who was pulled over is told to walk in a specific manner, basically heel to toe. When they are instructed to turn around, many people fail because they turn in a manner that is unnatural, failing to pivot when they turn.

One-Leg Stand Test

To complete this final test, the individual is asked to stand on one foot and then count to 30. The officer is observing the individual to see how well they can balance on their own, and whether they have to use their arms for balance or put their foot down on the ground.

This is actually also a two-part test in that the officer is also looking to see if the individual can adequately mark the passage of time by counting to 30. Even if the person taking the test gets to 30, it may take them an even longer period of time to realize it, which can be a strong indication of impairment.

Do I Have to Take the Portable Breath Test in Maryland?

As with the other field sobriety tests that are executed in Maryland, you do not have to take a portable breath test on the side of the road. Law enforcement officers often do inform individuals that the results of the Portable Breath Test (PBT) are not admissible in court. However, it is extremely critical that you understand that officers frequently use the results of the PBT in order  to make a determination as to whether or not they should arrest you for DUI.

Should I Call an Attorney if I am Arrested for DUI in Maryland?

If you have been arrested for DUI, it is imperative that you speak to a DUI attorney as soon as you possibly can. Often, time is of the essence in cases such as these. A DUI attorney can challenge the results of tests, their administration, or the qualifications of those who administered the tests and can assist you in gaining a hardship license, should it come to that point.

Our attorneys have years of experience in dealing with DUI cases and can advise you regarding field sobriety tests. Contact our law offices at (410) 484-0400 to speak with a member of our legal team regarding DUI laws.