At a traffic stop when drunk driving is suspected can the driver refuse to perform field sobriety testing? The short answer is yes. A suspected drunk driver may decline to participate in field sobriety testing. However, the suspected drink driver needs to understand the consequences of his or her decision to respectfully decline field sobriety testing.

Suspected Drunk Driving Traffic Stop

When a police officer suspects you have been driving drunk and stops your vehicle as part of his or her drunk driving arrest investigation he or she may ask you to submit to field sobriety testing. Generally, the two tests performed prior to an arrest, are a portable breath test or breathalyzer and a standardized field sobriety test.

Why Suspected Drink Drivers Say No to Field Sobriety Testing

There are a number of reasons suspected drink drivers decline to participate in field sobriety testing. Some of them are:

  1. People are nervous and scared results will not accurately reflect sobriety levels;
  2. People do not want to submit to any test;
  3. The person has prior DWI arrest or criminal history; and
  4. Person is uncoordinated and behavior may mimic signs of intoxication but actually be behavior exhibited when sober.

How DWI Defense Attorneys challenge field sobriety tests?

Nave + Associates (formerly Anelli Nave) DWI defense attorneys challenge field sobriety testing as part of your DWI defense. Some reasons the Nave + Associates (formerly Anelli Nave) DWI defense attorneys cite to exclude field sobriety testing from evidence are:

  1. Devices used not generally accepted in scientific community to be accurate or reliable;
  2. The stop was illegal; and
  3. Concerns the specimen was not preserved.

Criminal Consequences When Field Sobriety Testing is Declined

A refusal to submit to a chemical test (breath or blood) by a suspected drink driver may be used against you at trial as evidence of “consciousness of guilt.” The denial to participate in the test itself is not a crime. Keep in mind your words and actions can be used against you at a later date.

Civil Consequences of Declining Field Sobriety Testing

The main consequence to refusing to submit to field sobriety testing is civil in nature. The refusal to submit to a chemical test when asked to participate in one by a police officer is in and of itself a civil violation subjecting the suspected drink driver to fines and driver’s’ license revocation by an Administrative Law Judge at the Department of Motor Vehicle. Depending on the nature of the charges, prior criminal history, a refusal will trigger an automatic driver’s’ license revocation or suspension.

DISCLAIMER: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for Nave + Associates (formerly Anelli Nave) are located at 432 N. Franklin Street, Suite 80, Syracuse, NY 13204; Telephone No.: 1-866-792-7800. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.