March 15, 2019
Do I have to take the field sobriety tests if I am pulled over and suspected of DUI?
A very common question asked of criminal defense attorneys is, “Do I have to take the field sobriety tests if I am pulled over and suspected of DUI?” No, you don’t have to do or say anything. Don’t make the situation worse by being totally non-compliant; don’t make the nice police officer drag you out of the car through the window; and if he asks for your driver’s license, show it to him. But you don’t have to contribute to the case being made against you. Most people who are sober can’t even pass the standardized field sobriety tests, or SFSTs, If you are nervous or just plain clumsy, not to mention tispy, it is doubtful you will score well on the tests. They are designed for failure. If you decide to refuse to take the SFSTs, be polite and respectful. You still could be arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, but you have not given them any extra evidence to use against you at trial. From that point, the next step is being offered the opportunity to take the breathalyzer and you will be considering whether to take the test or refuse
Another common question asked of criminal defense attorneys is whether to take the breathalyzer test, or as it’s referred to, “blow into the machine.” Some attorneys just answer: “Refuse, and call me in the morning.” I believe it is a little more complicated than that. Even if you are eventually found not guilty of the DUI charge, if you refused, you could still have your license revoked for one year. Not just suspended, but revoked. The DUI charge is a criminal charge while the refusal is a civil action with the Department of Revenue. A finding in one case does not affect the outcome of the other. If you’re telling your lawyer the truth and you truly had one drink with your dinner (unless that drink was straight alcohol in a glass bigger than your head), you should be in no danger of testing .08 or higher. I am not advocating that a person always take the breathalyzer, but a knee jerk refusal is not always the best advice. There are a lot of factors that come into play at this very important part of a DUI arrest.
Miller & Terry Attorneys at Law are experienced criminal defense lawyers with experience in DWI / DUI cases in Missouri and Kansas. We will help protect you and your constitutional rights. Contact us today on this website or at 816-524.8718 for a free consultation.