Can I Refuse To Do a Field Sobriety Test?

September 14, 2023

Do you have a right to refuse a field sobriety test? Generally speaking, field sobriety tests (FST) are voluntary, and taking them is not required under the law.

Do you have a right to refuse a field sobriety test? Generally speaking, field sobriety tests (FST) are voluntary, and taking them is not required under the law. 

If asked to take a field sobriety test, you can politely refuse to complete it or request to speak with your lawyer. Even if there aren't legal consequences to refusing a FST, it can sometimes affect the outcome of your case.

Your Right To Refuse To Complete A Field Sobriety Test

Georgia has laws that protect individuals against compelled self-incrimination. This protection allows individuals to refuse to do certain things or provide evidence or statements that may incriminate them in criminal proceedings. Field sobriety tests are incorporated into this protection because the results may be used to prove your guilt.

How Can You Handle Your Refusal Matters?

When subjected to a field sobriety test, you can politely decline the test without being rude. Maintaining a polite and respectful attitude can minimize potential negative consequences. Remember that if you refuse an FST, you may be subjected to a chemical test to check your blood alcohol level. This may also lead to a possible arrest or revocation of your driver's license.

On the other hand, being rough can affect the law enforcement officer's judgment and the subsequent legal process. Your aggressive behavior may be documented and used against you in court, potentially weakening your defense.

Is It Better To Accept Or Decline To Take A Field Sobriety Test?

It is better if you refuse to participate in field sobriety tests. These tests are mostly considered unreliable. Failing field sobriety tests is easy, even if you are not intoxicated. A few reasons for failing these tests include:

  • Nervousness and anxiety
  • Lack of familiarity
  • Physical or medical conditions
  • Intimidation or stress
  • Fatigue and exhaustion

Can Field Sobriety Tests Be Invalidated If You Did Not Agree To Them?

The validity of field sobriety tests can depend on various factors, including whether you consented to them or refused to participate. Fortunately, you can suppress or dispute the results of those tests in Georgia. Here are some possible ways to do that.

  • The law enforcement office did not give you the right to refuse
  • The officer cannot demonstrate that you agreed to complete the field sobriety test
  • The office failed to inform you that the field sobriety test was voluntary
  • The officer improperly administered those tests
  • The law enforcement office made it look like you had to participate in those tests

If you refuse to take a field sobriety test, it is recommended to consult with an attorney who has experience with DUI cases. A lawyer will help you understand your rights and the potential legal penalties specific to your situation in Georgia.

Contact an Athens DUI Lawyer

If you have further questions about field sobriety tests, the DUI attorneys at Ryan Swingle Law can provide the answers you need and offer legal guidance. Call our office at (706) 708-0827 to schedule a consultation with our Athens DUI lawyer, Ryan Swingle, and learn more.

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