Skip to Content

I Passed the Sobriety Tests - Why Was I Arrested for OWI?


You are driving home after a social gathering with friends when all of a sudden you see it – flashing red and blue lights in your rearview mirror. You calmly pull over and provide the police officer with your license and registration. Next thing you know, you are being asked to step out of your car and participate in a series of different sobriety tests designed to gauge your reflexes and level of alcohol intoxication. At one point, the police even ask you to submit to a roadside handheld breathalyzer test.

Since you have only had one drink and you feel more or less fine, you participate as requested and seemingly pass the tests with flying colors. Despite this, the police still arrest you for suspected drunk driving. But why is this the case?

Field Sobriety Tests are Made to Be Failed

Many drivers believe that they are immune from being arrested for operating while intoxicated (OWI) as long as they pass an officer’s field sobriety tests (FSTs). This is false! In reality, FSTs are actually designed to be failed and serve the sole purpose of helping the police gain probable cause to secure your arrest. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) even admits that these tests are at best 77% accurate, with as many as 35% of people who fail the tests being unimpaired.

Likewise, FSTs are just one of a myriad of different ways that a police officer can collect evidence to secure a driver’s arrest for OWI. Many people do not realize that the police do not have to prove that a driver is above the legal limit; they must merely have to have sufficient reason to suspect that a driver is unfit to drive.

Additional evidence of alcohol impairment an officer may cite to secure your arrest include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • The scent of alcohol on your breath
  • Slurred speech
  • Erratic driving
  • A visibly open alcohol container in your car

Given this knowledge, it is highly recommended you do not participate in any FSTs that a police officer may request. Although the police may imply otherwise, you are not required by law to submit to any roadside tests if you have not been arrested and may refuse without penalty.

Charged with OWI? Call (414) 882-8382

If you have been charged with OWI, contact the Milwaukee OWI attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella today. With more than 20 years of experience and an Avvo Client’s Choice Award for our unmatched legal advocacy, our firm can provide the aggressive representation you need to protect your future and driving privileges.

Fill out an online form today to schedule your free consultation.

Share To: