What Police Don't Tell You About Field Sobriety Tests

After you get pulled over by the police you’re probably nervous, even if no crime has been committed. It’s normal to feel anxious, but unfortunately, that can disrupt your decision-making process, often leading to poor choices. One of those poor choices is taking a field sobriety test. A common misconception is that because of implied consent laws, you’re required to take a field sobriety test. In fact, you are not required to take them; you’re only mandated to take a chemical test, such as a urine, blood, or breathalyzer test.

Alas, a police officer doesn’t have to give you the option to decline a field sobriety test, since they are under no obligation to inform you of that information. Most officers simply ask you to get out of the car and begin instructing you on whichever test they would like you to perform. If you decline to participate in field sobriety testing, your driver’s license is not be suspended; that is only the case for declining a chemical test.

One of the reasons people decide to take the field sobriety tests is because they believe they may go free once they pass them. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. The main purpose of these tests is to gather evidence to show you’re under the influence. The thing is, you can fail these tests even if you’re sober. Everything from poor weather and uneven pavement to tight-fitting clothes and medical conditions can result in your failure of the field sobriety tests.

If you’re pulled over, all you are legally required to do is provide your license, registration, and proof of insurance, if asked. If an officer asks you to exit your vehicle, you must also comply. You do not have to answer any of their questions, but if they ask you to take a chemical test, you’re legally required to, or else your license is automatically suspended.

However, refusing the field sobriety test is perfectly within your rights.

If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated, please contact our Boston criminal defense lawyer at Brad Bailey Law. Call (617) 500-0252 or contact us online today to learn more about your available defenses.

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