What to Do After Denying Field Sobriety Tests
Posted By Salvador Phillips, PLLC || Apr 10, 2017
We have all seen them before – motorists being suspected of driving under the influence being made to walk and turn, hold one leg off the ground and count, and follow the path of a pen held by a law enforcement officer. While these are scenes we are familiar with when it comes to DUI stops and investigations, it is important to note that they are NOT mandatory.
If you are stopped in connection to a DUI investigation, remember that you have the right to refuse field sobriety tests. These tests are not designed as objective assessments of whether a person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They are designed to provide more time for law enforcement officers to collect probable cause that you can be connected to a crime. They are designed for you to fail.
Because of this, most criminal defense lawyers who know what they are doing will generally advise that you decline to take field sobriety tests. When you do, there are other important things to remember:
- You can refuse a field breath test – When you decline to take a field sobriety test, a law enforcement officer may next ask you to take a breath test using a portable field device. You also have the right to refuse this portable breath test, and you should for several reasons. Most notably, these devices are not like the breath devices used on suspects at a police station. They are smaller and prone to error or false readings, and they may not be calibrated as often. Additionally, when you refuse a preliminary breath test, an officer must have probable cause to arrest you and transport you to a police station or facility where chemical test can be performed using different machines.
- Don’t refuse the second chemical test – While you can refuse a preliminary breath test, you cannot refuse a second breath or chemical test conducted at a police station without consequences. If you do, you risk an automatic license suspension without the opportunity to fight it. If an officer informs you that they will transport you to a station for further testing, take this test.
- Be careful of challenging officers – Flexing your rights is important, as it ensures you are treated fairly by officers and that they abide by the law during a stop and arrest. This being said, it is important to remember that you must exercise caution when challenging the actions of law enforcement, especially when it comes to a second breath test. Remember, if an officer has enough probable cause to suspect you may be under the influence, they are going to arrest you anyway.
- Be careful of what you say – Similar to using caution when challenging law enforcement or refusing tests, you need to be careful of what you say. When stopped and being investigated for a DUI, or for any crime, you should always exercise your right to remain silent. Doing so can ensure that you do not make any statements that could possibly be used against you. As stated above, law enforcement will make an arrest if they believe they have justification for doing so. You can’t talk yourself out of an arrest. Even if you feel they do not have justification, it is best to remain silent and work with a lawyer who can help explore whether police did in fact have probable cause to arrest you. If they did not, critical evidence can be thrown out and you can improve your chances of securing a positive resolution, such as a dismissal of charges.
- Call a lawyer – No matter what transpires during the course of your police stop, investigation, and arrest, you can protect yourself by working with proven criminal defense attorneys. Our team at Salvador Law Group knows the ins and outs of DUI laws, as well as the protocol police must follow when stopping and arresting drivers they suspect are under the influence. We can help you challenge and address all aspects of your case, including any refusals of field sobriety tests and what the government’s case says about what happened.
Knowing and exercising your rights during a DUI stop is important, but it becomes even more important after you have been charged with a crime and face serious penalties. By working with our Phoenix DUI attorneys, you can exercise your right to legal representation and have proven advocates in your corner who can use their experience to your advantage. Our firm has extensive experience fighting for clients charged with all types of DUIs, and in cases involving a range of circumstances. We have the tools and the passion to help protect your rights, freedom, and future.
For a FREE consultation with an attorney from Salvador Law Group, contact us today.