Can I Refuse to Take a Field Sobriety Test?
When a person is under suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then the police might conduct a field sobriety test. To conduct this test, the police stop the person in the middle of the road if they think that he/she is not fit to drive. You will have to pull over at the side of the road and an officer will approach you to ask you a few questions. If the officer has a hunch that you have taken drugs or alcohol, then he/she can demand you to undergo a field sobriety test. But what all of you might be thinking is that ‘can I refuse to take a field sobriety test?’ Well, the laws that are present behind this test will help you understand better, so read on to find out.
What is the Field Sobriety Test?
To understand your level of impairment, a police officer might ask you to undergo a series of tests, known as field sobriety tests, which are as follows:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) – This is determined by 3 factors which are the involuntary jerking of your eyeball occurs just before your eyes are at 45 degrees from the center, when your eyes fail to smoothly follow a moving object and when there is a sustained jerking.
- Walk-and-turn (WAT) – The person suspected will be asked to walk nine steps in a particular fashion and if he/she fails to maintain their balance or stops to regain their balance, they can be charged with DUI.
- One-leg stand (OLS) – In this test, the person will have to stand on one leg and start counting from 1000. The leg will have to be approximately 6 inches from the ground level. The person will be charged if he/she sways or uses the hands to balance properly or if they put their foot down until asked to do so.
You are not legally bound to take any of these tests and so you can always say no to the police officer. But if the officer suspects you, then he/she can arrest you for DUI.
Can I Refuse a PAS Test?
An officer may also ask you for a Preliminary Alcohol Screening or PAS. For that he/she will hand over to you a screening device. It is a type of hand-held breath device and it is responsible for measuring the amount of alcohol present in your blood. As per the implied consent laws, the PAS test is not something you have to say yes to at the spot. This is because a PAS Test is very similar to the Field Sobriety Test as it will judge whether there are enough grounds to arrest you on the basis of DUI.
What Should You Do to Refuse Field Sobriety Test?
Although you are not legally bound to say yes to these tests, a Field Sobriety Test refusal might increase the police’s suspicions even more. If you do not cooperate with them, it will lead them to believe that you have something to hide. Moreover, even if you pass these tests, you can still be arrested based on grounds that you might be a danger to others. But if you do want to refuse the test, you should not aggravate the situation with the police. Do not be overly polite but be respectful of them. Worsening the situation will only the officer all the more reason to charge you with something.
In case you are detained by an officer, always consult a legal attorney before you take any step. Get a DUI lawyer, as they are experts on these subjects and can advise you accordingly. So, if you are wondering can you refuse to take a field sobriety test, then this post should sum up your answer.