When a police officer pulls you over on the suspicion that you’re driving under the influence, they will request that you perform certain tests as evidence of your DUI. These include both a preliminary breath test and field sobriety tests.
Depending on the results, you may be placed under arrest and taken in for an official blood or breathalyzer test. However, you are under absolutely no obligation to complete roadside tests. By understanding your rights, you have a better chance of fighting your DUI charge.
Can You Really Refuse Field Sobriety Tests?
Yes, you can, and in some instances, it’s in your best interest to do so. Field sobriety tests such as closing your eyes while touching your nose, standing on one leg, or walking heel to toe in a straight line, are subjective tests with no real scientific merit. If you have bad balance or have been in an accident, it’s probably a good idea to refuse them.
The officer will try to make it sound like you have to do it, but in reality, they cannot punish you for skipping them. However, if they’re still convinced that you’ve been drinking or doing drugs, they can arrest you and take you to have a breathalyzer or blood test done at the police station.
Can You Refuse an Official Blood or Breathalyzer Test?
This is trickier. Georgia has implied consent laws, meaning anyone who drives on state roads has implicitly agreed to take a chemical drug or alcohol test. The arresting officer must read you the implied consent notice before testing you, including your right to an independent test and the penalties of refusing. After reading the notice to you, they must explicitly ask if you consent to the test.
If the officer skips any of these steps, the results of the test will probably be considered inadmissible in court. If you’re forced to take the test involuntarily, the results are also inadmissible. Most cops won’t force you to take the test if you refuse, though a warrant can be obtained for your blood if they really want to push the issue.
This may sound well and good, but refusing a drug or alcohol test comes with consequences. In a court of law, it can look like you had something to hide. Refusal also means license confiscation and a 30-day driving permit. After those 30 days, you could be facing a year-long suspension, but an experienced lawyer can help you avoid that.
Refusing both field and chemical sobriety tests doesn’t necessarily mean a not-guilty verdict, but it does make it much harder for prosecutors and police to convict you. Without that crucial evidence, it’s harder to prove you were impaired when they pulled you over. When in doubt, contact Attorney Mel at LaGrone Law for help.