Affordable Legal Services of Thomas Sandifer
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Am I allowed to refuse field sobriety tests?

On Behalf of | Nov 19, 2021 | Duis And Traffic Violations |

A DUI traffic stop often involves a variety of tests that police use to determine whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol. However, not all of these tests are mandatory. Implied consent laws require Missouri drivers to submit to certain testing or risk losing their licenses, but this does not apply to measures such as field sobriety tests. 

Refusing field sobriety tests 

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration endorses a three-part field sobriety test. Rather than measure a driver’s blood alcohol content, this test is an investigative tool that officers use to determine whether further testing is necessary. Drivers do not have to perform these tests regardless of the number of times an officer may ask them to do so, although they may still be arrested and charged with a DUI. The three components of the field sobriety test are the: 

  • Walk-and-turn 
  • One-leg stand 
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus 

Refusing Breathalyzer or blood tests 

When a person gets a driver’s license, he or she gives implied consent to submit to certain drunk driving screening. Implied consent laws do cover Breathalyzer tests, and refusal to submit to breath testing can still lead to arrest while also involving the loss of driving privileges. Blood testing is a little different, as a 2016 Supreme Court ruling determined that refusing a blood test without a warrant is not a criminal act and does not violate implied consent. 

It is not uncommon for Missouri drivers to panic during traffic stops and refuse field sobriety tests, blood tests or Breathalyzers. Unfortunately, the potential consequences of these actions may be severe. Limiting the legal impact of DUI charges on top of this refusal is often a priority, which is why defendants may want to consider whether having knowledgeable guidance through this process could be valuable.