Do you have the right to refuse a field-sobriety or breath test?

You were driving when the police pulled you over. The officer explains that he’d like you to take a field-sobriety test, because your vehicle was weaving in the lane. You know you haven’t been drinking.

What should you do? Do you have to take the test? Here are a few things to think about.

1. You could be arrested if you refuse the field-sobriety tests

While refusing the tests themselves isn’t enough of a reason to arrest you, the officer may use your refusal as a sign that you are under the influence and don’t want to get caught. With other evidence, like your vehicle swerving, the officer may believe he has probable cause to arrest you.

2. A field-sobriety test isn’t a breath test

There is a difference between a breath test and field-sobriety tests. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, which measures the amount of alcohol in your blood, then you could face serious consequences. Failing to take a breath test upon request could lead to losing your license and having your insurance rates skyrocket. Additionally, you may be arrested and could face harsh penalties for a DUI if convicted.

3. Blood tests are special

Blood tests are the only type of test you can refuse without the risk of penalties. The only exception to this rule is if you’re unable to consent to the test. For example, if you’re in an accident and unable to respond, then your blood may be taken to see if you have alcohol in your system.

Keep these facts in mind if you’re stopped by an officer. While you may wish to refuse the test, it could impact you, so it’s worth taking time to consider your options before you decide not to indulge the officer.

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