Why You Should Refuse Any Field Sobriety Tests When Pulled Over for Suspicion of DUI

Nobody wants to be pulled over and charged with driving under the influence (DUI), but it’s always a good idea to know your rights, just in case it happens to you. Many people have heard that there are tests that you should take and tests that you shouldn’t agree to, but they aren’t clear as to which is which. The attorneys at the law firm of Erik B. Jensen & Associates are experienced and knowledgeable in helping our clients face DUI charges. Here is what you need to know about implied consent, blood, breath and urine tests, and why you should refuse any field sobriety tests when pulled over for suspicion of DUI.


When a Pennsylvania police officer pulls you over or questions you regarding DUI, you have certain rights and certain obligations. The state has what are known as implied consent laws which require drivers to submit to taking a chemical blood alcohol test if arrested for DUI. Refusal to submit to one of these tests can result in a minimum one-year suspension of your license. That suspension is only for refusing to take the test – it is not about the test’s results.  If you are later convicted of a DUI, you will also face penalties for that charge.  An officer cannot force you to take the test unless you are driving on a suspended license due to a previous alcohol-related offense or if you were in an accident where somebody was seriously injured or killed.


If an officer asks you to take a field sobriety test, you do have the right to refuse.  You cannot be prosecuted for refusing a field sobriety test unlike the chemical test. Field sobriety tests are not scientific. They are what police often use as a basis for a DUI arrest. A typical field sobriety test consists of standing on one leg for a count of 30 seconds, a horizontal gaze test, and a walk and turn test on a straight line. The police officer may tell you that you are required to take this test, but this is not true – only the chemical test is required, and that is only if you have been arrested. 


When you take a field sobriety test, you put yourself at the mercy of the police officer’s subjective judgment. The officer can use the results of your field sobriety test to make an arrest, requiring you to take the chemical test. Refusing the field sobriety test means that the officer cannot use your results to arrest you.  You can be arrested for other reasons, including the smell of alcohol or hostile behavior, though.  Always be polite and cooperative with the police, but remember that you have the right to refuse to answer questions about where you have been or what you have been doing.


If you have been arrested for DUI, you need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who can stand up for your rights and argue your case. The skilled attorneys at Erik B. Jensen and Associates have a record of success in defending DUI clients. If you need legal help with a DUI arrest, they can defend you too.