When can you refuse a sobriety test?

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2023 | DUI Defense

There’s always the possibility that police have reasonable suspicion to pull you over for a traffic stop. Perhaps they believed you violated a traffic law, like running a red light or making a right-hand turn when you couldn’t, or they thought you were swerving between lanes. When a traffic stop happens, the police may ask you to take a sobriety test to prove that you aren’t driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

A sobriety test that reveals that someone is driving while drunk could lead to a DUI charge, which may include a license suspension, fees and incarceration. Drivers may have the right to refuse a sobriety test. However, to understand when a driver can refuse a sobriety test, it may be best to understand the different kinds of sobriety tests. Here’s what you should know:

Standardized field sobriety test

For starters, the police may ask a driver to take a standardized field sobriety test. This kind of test is, simply put, a physical examination, which allows the police to judge whether a driver is drunk. The following are three commonly used field sobriety tests:

  • Horizontal gaze test
  • One-legged stand test
  • Walk-and-turn test

Drivers typically have the right to refuse standardized field sobriety tests without facing penalties. Other tests of this kind are considered non-standardized field sobriety tests and involve impromptu instructions, which drivers may also refuse.

Breath test

Alternatively, the police may ask the driver to take a chemical breath test, also called a breathalyzer. A breathalyzer is a more accurate kind of sobriety test.

Under the implied consent laws, a driver that refuses a breathalyzer may face criminal charges that reflect DUI charges and may include additional penalties.

If you’re facing a DUI charge, then you may need to be aware of your legal right to a defense.


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