Can You Decline a Sobriety Test?

It is important to know what your rights are in any situation. This is especially important when it comes to DUIs and DWIs. For instance, many people do not know whether or not they are legally required to take a sobriety test after being pulled over under suspicion of driving drunk. This question actually has a very simple answer, which this guide will fully explain.

The Sobriety Test

The sobriety test takes many forms. The most common is a breathalyzer, which is a device the driver blows air into to determine how much alcohol is in his or her system. Other forms of sobriety tests include urine tests, blood tests, and physical or mental challenges that the driver must perform.

In nearly all cases, you are not required to take a sobriety test if one is requested. It is your right to decline, although it is wise to decline politely. There are exactly three situations where a sobriety test is legally mandatory. These situations are:

  • Active DUI probation
  • Too young to legally drink
  • Already under arrest

If you have previously received a DUI and are currently on probation, then you must take a sobriety test. This is straightforward to understand. If you are under the legal drinking age, then you must also take a sobriety test, and the limit for receiving a DUI is much stricter. This is also easy to understand. The third situation, however, is a bit more complicated.

If you are under arrest, then you must take a sobriety test. This applies even if you are under arrest for an unrelated matter. The test after being arrested may be useful to gain more tangible proof of drunkenness for the court. However, the proof needed to arrest you for a DUI must be gained prior to the arrest. If the only proof is a failed sobriety test which was taken after arrest, then the case will almost certainly be thrown out.

Should You Take a Sobriety Test?

You now know that you have the right to decline a sobriety test, but is it a good idea to exercise this right? In fact, it is always better to decline the sobriety test. Even if you are perfectly sober, the results of the test are subjective and interpreted by the officer, which may result in an arrest. A test cannot prove your innocence, so there is never any benefit to taking the test. Additionally, refusing to take a sobriety test is not enough cause to make an arrest. If an officer does not respect your rights, then you should contact an attorney immediately.

Source: Criminal Defense Lawyer Denver, CO, Richard J. Banta, P.C.

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