Finding yourself in a predicament where a person of authority asks for compliance can be tough. Here’s how knowing your rights could come in handy.
There’s generally a 1% chance in a year you’d get pulled over in the streets by a police officer while driving. This could mean different things, but there could be a violation involved.
If an officer suspects you of driving under the influence (DUI), he may ask to perform a field sobriety test. The question is, can you refuse it?
You can say yes to a field sobriety test if you think it’s in your best interest. However, you must know your rights before doing so, especially when worse comes to worst. If an officer believes you’re a threat to public safety, you could be in so much trouble.
You can’t risk losing your driver’s license, paying hefty fines, or a possible DUI jail time. Unless you have good DUI lawyers, your penalties could get even worse!
Here’s what you need to know about your rights if you refuse a field sobriety test.
Can You Refuse a Field Sobriety Test?
A field sobriety test is a series of tests police use to assess if you’re sober enough to drive. It has been scientifically proven to determine valid intoxication 90% of the time if performed by a trained officer.
However, this test does not guarantee a Driving While Intoxicated/Impaired (DWI) conviction or a DUI charge. It’s simply used as probable cause to justify further investigation. A police officer can reasonably arrest you if you show the following signs:
- Weakness and lethargy
- Impaired walking
- In confusion
- Slurred speech
- Excessive talking
- Alcohol odor
- Red and watery eyes
Nonetheless, you are not legally bound to take a field sobriety test in cases of DUI. Even if you are, in fact, within the legal intoxication limit, this test can still be incriminating.
You can politely refuse and expressly state you do not consent to the test without facing any serious consequences. However, your refusal may be admissible to court against you if a later DUI criminal case occurs.
Do know that a police officer can still arrest if the situation calls for it. In DUI cases, you must immediately contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer. Learning and discussing your legal options with legal defense professionals is best.
Here’s why most legal professionals are not a pro-field sobriety test.
Field Sobriety Tests Are Inaccurate
Although field sobriety tests are set to validate intoxication levels, they’re not at all flawless. Researchers say that these tests are inaccurate, especially without proper administration.
The inaccurate measurement of drugs or alcohol levels in a person’s system often leads to unreliable DUI case results. Even science can prove it as “largely unreliable” and “pointless.”
The practical test you cannot refuse during drunk driving lawsuit settlements is the chemical test. This test measures the amount of alcohol in your system through a breathalyzer or blood test.
In New York, consent can be implied for chemical tests only.
Field Sobriety Tests Can Be Used Against You
While refusing a sobriety test does not presume guilt, the information they get from you can be used against you.
An officer’s observational evidence to prove probable cause for arrest is easier to defend than your field sobriety test results. Significant actors play a role during these tests that could hinder your information.
These include having uncomfortable shoes or walking on slippery pavement. The lighting can also affect vision, or those with medical conditions like obesity or vertigo could be impaired.
Refusing the tests is denying prosecution in obtaining inaccurate information to charge a false DUI lawsuit.
Field Sobriety Tests Are Subjective
No matter which light you look at, no police officer can have the same judgment as another, regardless of training. Since a field sobriety test is subjective in nature, performance and several factors play a significant role.
To give you an overview, field sobriety tests consist of three tests, including the following:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
- Walk-And-Turn Test
- One-Leg Stand Test
Scientifically speaking, these tests are not immune to flaws and have apparent levels of subjectivity. Besides the fact that they are based on observation, the test is not performed using standardized instructions.
In addition, there are many cases that even sober people fail this test. Age, disabilities, medical conditions, injury, and more factors must be considered.
Disclose these factors to the law enforcer for an official record so it can be used in your favor for a possible court trial later.
Luckily, recent efforts have made field sobriety tests more objective. This includes having standardized field sobriety tests across the country.
Why Should You Hire DUI Lawyers?
You can benefit from your DUI defense lawyers in many ways. Although they are mostly against field sobriety tests, they know the whys and the hows of these tests.
Knowledgeable DUI lawyers with relevant experience can defend you on all occasions. This is done through proper preparation and expertise. Hiring an attorney with years of experience is a great factor!
Additionally, your attorney can make you understand the legal options of a sobriety test and mitigate a DUI charge.
Moreover, your skilled lawyers can provide you with a lineup of expert witnesses to help have your DUI cases dismissed.
Otherwise, your DUI defense lawyers can help reduce your penalty or sentence if the court’s decision is conclusive. They can help shed your situation some light and turn things in your favor.
As much as you want to take matters into your hands, avoid showing aggressive behaviors with an officer of the state. If you want to refuse a field sobriety test, do so politely. In case of arrest, avoid saying self-incriminating statements and contact your DUI lawyer as soon as possible.
With the country’s stringent laws on drunk driving, penalties, if found guilty, can be severe. Make sure you hire the best legal team with extensive knowledge in DUI and DWI cases.
Remember that these cases do not constitute a single process. Always refer your queries to your legal team, whether it’s an honest mistake or not.