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Can you refuse sobriety testing if you’re pulled over?

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2022 | DUI

Imagine if someone had a few drinks and thought they were safe to drive home. Whether it was because they were recklessly driving or because they had a tail light out, they were pulled over by police. The officer asked the driver to perform a Breathalyzer test.

Sobriety tests, such as a Breathalyzer, are used to determine if someone was driving while intoxicated. Many people believe that Breathalyzer tests are optional and are only used on people who don’t know better. However, refusing to take a breath test can lead to serious consequences.

Here’s what you should know:

Refusing a breath test may make charges worse

Every driver has to follow implied consent laws. These laws detail that anyone with a driver’s license is required to perform sobriety tests if prompted. Otherwise, refusing a sobriety test may lead to serious criminal charges, fines, incarceration and license revocation. 

However, while implied consent laws state drivers are obligated to perform chemical sobriety tests, other sobriety testing is not enforceable. For example, police may ask a driver to perform standardized field sobriety tests. These tests may include the following:

  • A horizontal gaze test: the suspect focuses on a single point without moving their head
  • The walk-and-turn test: the suspect follows a straight line and returns to where they started
  • The one-legged stand test: the suspect balances on one leg for a certain amount of time

These tests, unlike breath tests, are refusable and refusals to comply aren’t punishable by law. This is likely because field sobriety tests aren’t based on science. Instead, these tests are only concluded by the judgment of an officer and may not be accurate. 

A DWI/DUI charge can greatly affect a person’s record without a strong defense. Find out more about your legal options right away.