What if I Refuse to Take a DUI Field Sobriety Test?

After you have been pulled over and suspected of driving while intoxicated, many police officers are going to request that you take either a breathalyzer or a DUI field sobriety test. Many people assume that these tests are exactly the same thing, but they really are not. One of these tests is considered unfair and can be pretty subjective in nature. And the second, while it is required, can still present some cases for you to work with a DUI attorney to get your case overturned.

Understanding how these tests work and the reason for doing them can make a big difference in how your DUI case works out for you. Some people feel that they should avoid doing these tests to avoid trouble, but even when you take these tests, and the results do not turn out the way that you want, a DUI attorney can look over the case and build up evidence that the tests were administered wrongly or something else was off about how the tests work.

DUI Field Sobriety Test

While most people do not realize this, it is actually fine for you to refuse to take a DUI field sobriety test. In fact, you can refuse to do this test without receiving any penalties. When you are pulled over for suspected drunk driving, a police officer can use one of these field tests in order to gauge whether or not it is time to take you in for some chemical testing or to charge you with a DUI. In some areas, the officer can even use these tests and record them as evidence on their dash cam.

If you get the DUI field sobriety test on camera, it could work for or against you. If you are obviously drunk and can’t do any of the testings, then it could come back and work against you when used in the court and your DUI attorney will have to find another defense. However, if the officer states that you were drinking while intoxicated, and the video shows that this is not true or makes it questionable, you could get the evidence thrown out.

While you are allowed to refuse to do one of these field tests, realize that the officer could charge you automatically for a DUI if they see probable cause. In some cases, the officer can elevate to demanding that you take a chemical test. There is also a high perception of being guilty if you refuse to take these tests and they go to trial.

Breathalyzer tests

You can choose not to take a chemical test as well, but in this case, the refusal is going to come with penalties and significant fines in most states. There are even places where the officer can physically make you take the test even if you refuse to do this.

With these fees for refusing to take the test, the fines and penalties need to be paid no matter if you win or not in court. In addition, you will have some more stipulations on your license when you do get it back, which can make driving more difficult in most cases.

In most cases, it is better if you choose to just take the tests. Yes, if you have been drinking, they are going to show that this is the case and you will be charged with a DUI that could go on your record. However, it is much easier for your DUI attorney to go through the evidence and find flaws in it than it is for them to excuse your refusal at the scene.

For example, the DUI attorney could question whether the police officer was properly trained to give the DUI field sobriety test, they could look at the dash cam and show that you did not appear to be drunk, or they could question whether the breathalyzer has been properly maintained and is working properly. But if you refuse to take these tests, many juries and judges will assume that you are guilty from the start, and that can make your case harder.

If you have been charged with a DUI and are not facing a conviction, make sure to contact a DUI attorney right away. They will be able to look at the specifics of your case, whether or not you took the field sobriety tests or not and help you to build up the defense that you need.


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