Field Sobriety Test & Breathalyzer Tests: Know Your Rights
“Don’t ever take a test you are not sure that you can pass!”
This wise advice is nowhere more applicable than in an OUI or DUI investigation. The police can neither force you, nor do you have any legal obligation, to take either a field sobriety test or breathalyzer tests. In fact, they cannot use evidence of refusal against you in court. This applies to both the portable breath test given roadside, as well as the actual breath test given at the police station, or, in the case of Roadblocks or Roadside Sobriety Check Points, in the B.A.T. van on scene.
If you refuse to take the standardized field sobriety test or breathalyzer test, this cannot be used against you in court. The police may still arrest you and suspend your license for refusal of the breathalyzer test administered at the police station. However, without these two pieces of evidence, the prosecution will have a much more difficult time proving a drunk driving case against you. If acquitted, your attorney may petition the court to order your license reinstated. Do not be coerced into providing evidence against yourself.
What are Standardized Field Sobriety Tests?
In Massachusetts, there are several field sobriety tests that a police officer may ask you to take. These are designed to be divided attention tests to determine whether or not an individual can listen and perform basic functions simultaneously. While there are a number of field sobriety tests, there are only three standardized field sobriety tests, and include:
- One leg stand test
- Walk and turn test
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus test
Non-standardized tests include the ABC test, the finger-to-nose test, and the numbers backward test.
Again, you are under no legal obligation to take these tests. They are used to give officers a “probable cause” to make an arrest for suspected DUI or OUI. In fact, these field tests are not 100% accurate and could be used against you in a court of law if you submit to them.
What Should I Do If I’m Stopped and Asked to Take Standardized Field Sobriety Tests?
If you are pulled over for suspected DUI or drunk driving and refuse to take the field sobriety tests or breath test, this cannot be used against you in court. You are not required to submit to these tests when pulled over roadside by a police officer.
In all circumstances, always be polite and respectful to the police officers, even if they are arresting you. From the minute you are stopped roadside through the booking process at the police station, assume that you are on camera. More and more police agencies are using cruiser and booking videos every day.
For over 20 years, Gregory Casale Attorney At Law, has successfully challenged improper OUI and DUI arrests and driver’s license suspensions for drivers who may otherwise have suffered an OUI or DUI conviction and a lengthy driver’s license suspension. He has handled thousands of criminal charges for people just like you.
If you are stopped and arrested for OUI or DUI, contact us online or call us at 508.752.7500. Get answers day or night to your urgent questions — our phones are answered by live staff 24 hours a day.