Drug Tests in The Field

If a police officer pulls you over and suspects that you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may ask you to perform certain tests in the field. This might include standardized field sobriety tests, breath tests, or even submit to a DRE evaluation if they think you are under the influence of drugs. You can learn more on this page.


If you are charged with a DUI, there is certain testing that will be done to determine your level of sobriety. Common drug tests are related to alcohol, since driving under the influence is commonly charged in conjunction with alcohol. However, this is not always the case. It is also possible to be charged with a drug DUI. When this is the case, common field tests are likely irrelevant. Here, I will discuss common alcohol related tests that will not apply to your case, as well as alternatives that might. 

Breathalyzer Drug Tests

One of the most common drug tests administered when someone is suspected of driving under the influence is the breathalyzer test. The breathalyzer is a test that measures a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). It works by having a person blow into a machine, and the machine then determine the amount of alcohol in the person’s breath. This gives a widely accepted reading for that person’s blood alcohol content. 

The breathalyzer test is oftentimes administered when someone is pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence. However, if a person is not under the influence of alcohol, and is instead under the influence of another substance, a breathalyzer test may be irrelevant. 

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Before taking a breathalyzer, you should contact an attorney to determine the best way to proceed in your situation. 

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

In addition to the breathalyzer, police officers oftentimes like to administer standardized field sobriety tests when they pull someone over for DUI. There are three standardized field sobriety tests – the walk and turn test, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, and the one leg stand test. 

Again, these drug tests are meant to determine if a person is under the influence of alcohol. The influence of other substances, such as marijuana, prescription pills, or cocaine, may or may not affect a person’s ability to pass these tests. 

Once again, it is a good idea to contact an attorney before taking these drug tests. These tests are designed to make people fail, and could do nothing but incriminate you. If you did take these tests, contact an attorney to see if the results can be thrown out of court. 

Other Field Sobriety Tests

If a police officer suspects that you are under the influence of marijuana or another substance, they may administer non standard field sobriety tests. This might include mental tests such as counting backwards, saying the alphabet backwards, finger counting, or a stationary balance test. 

These tests are not validated and not widely believed to indicate intoxication. If you were asked to perform these tests, a lawyer may be able to have the results thrown out of court, or at least discredit the results. 

It can be more difficult to prove that someone is under the influence of a drug than it is to prove that they are under the influence of alcohol. This is especially the case when at the field. Instead, a police officer might take you to the police station and try to administer a chemical or a blood test there. Remember to consult with an attorney before you take any tests. For more information, you can contact my office.

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