Law enforcement authorities may want you to complete field sobriety tests to determine whether or not you are intoxicated if you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. These tests are often administered by cops when they strongly suspect that a driver is intoxicated and want to confirm it. They are voluntary in most states, and you can refuse to participate. Many criminal defense lawyers advise people to avoid taking these tests because the evidence acquired from them will almost certainly only be used against them in DUI proceedings.

Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are a set of voluntary tests given to a driver to determine whether or not he or she is sober. Because the examinations are subjective in nature, the officer must decide whether you passed or not based on your performance or other considerations.

The US Department of Transportation claims that in only two-thirds of all DUI cases, FST were able to identify drunk drivers. For a large proportion of drivers, field sobriety tests may indicate that they are inebriated when they are not. The inconsistency is attributable to many circumstances, including anxiousness, drugs taken by the driver, and pre-existing balance issues.

Refusing the Test

A driver may respectfully decline or ask to call his or her attorney if asked to undergo a field sobriety test. While there will be no legal consequences for refusing to participate, it is crucial to note that this does not mean the driver will be free to go.

If a driver refuses a field sobriety test, they will almost always be asked to agree to a chemical test to ascertain their blood alcohol level — such as a breathalyzer test or a blood test. While these tests are being completed, the motorist may be brought to the police station or jail briefly.

Can I Refuse a PAS?

The officer may ask you to blow into a hand-held breath device, often known as a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device, while you are still at the traffic stop location. This breath device can determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), but it is not the same as the evidential breath sample you will be required to submit at the station later.

Based on a breath sample, a PAS device can detect the presence and concentration of alcohol in your system. However, under implied consent regulations, you are not obligated to submit to a PAS test at the scene of the occurrence. The outcome of a PAS test is similar to that of an FST in that it is only utilized to aid the officer in evaluating probable cause.

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