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Can you refuse a field sobriety test?

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2021 | Driving Offenses

When you’re pulled over in Pennsylvania under suspicion of driving under the influence, it can be frightening, to say the least. Many people convicted of a DUI offense end up having issues finding jobs, pay higher insurance rates and face a variety of other negative consequences. One factor that can affect your case is whether or not you submitted to a field sobriety test.

What is a field sobriety test?

When a person is pulled over under suspicion of a DUI, they will be asked by the officer to undergo a field sobriety test. By watching the driver’s reaction to these various tests, an officer can determine if the driver is likely intoxicated. Some of the most commonly used field sobriety tests include the horizontal gaze test, the turn-on-one-leg test and the one-legged stand.

These tests are not mandatory

While police officers are trained to make it seem like these tests are mandatory for the driver to take, the reality is that they are not. You have the right to refuse to take these field sobriety tests if you so choose. A DUI defense lawyer may tell you that it’s advisable to politely decline to take the test. When you opt not to take the field sobriety test, it gives the court less evidence to use against you in the event that you are formally charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Police officers have been using field sobriety tests for decades as a way to help solidify their suspicion of a person being under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving down the roadway. While you may feel as if you’re obligated to undergo this type of test, you’re not mandated by law to do so.