The holidays are here and many of us are likely planning to celebrate this joyous time of year with friends and family. This often involves a bit of bubbly or some other type of festive alcoholic beverage. Of course, given the number of people who tend to drink during the holidays, law enforcement officers are often out in full force, looking for signs of drunk driving. If you are pulled over by a cop under the suspicion of drunk driving, you might be wondering what your rights are. Do you have to agree to everything a law enforcement officer asks you to do? If you refuse, are there any consequences?
Refusing Field Sobriety Tests
There are numerous field sobriety tests that a law enforcement officer could potentially ask you to perform in order to determine if you are impaired. The most common field sobriety tests include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk-and-turn, and the one-leg stand. Drivers are generally not legally obligated to perform any of these tests, regardless of what a police officer leads you to believe. These tests mainly exist to serve as an investigative aid to the law enforcement officer, nothing more.
That said, even if you refuse to perform these tests, it is still likely that the officer will arrest you for a DUI if he or she believes there is enough probable cause that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, your refusal to perform these tests will keep the prosecuting attorney from acquiring more evidence against you. Since there are no legal ramifications for refusing to take a field sobriety test, it is in your best interest that you politely decline to perform any of them.
Can I refuse to Take a Breath or Blood Sample?
No one can force you to do anything, but if you refuse to take a breath test, it will result in severe consequences. Your license will likely be revoked and, as a result, your insurance rates will go through the roof. This is due to the fact that every state has what is known as “implied consent” laws, which essentially means that you are required to submit to a breath test when asked by a law enforcement officer as a condition of obtaining and keeping your driver’s license. Additionally, if your case goes to trial, the prosecuting attorney will be able to inform the jury that you refused a chemical test.
While you are required to take a breath test, however, the law is different when it comes to blood tests. You are not legally obligated to submit to a blood test except in situations where there are exigent circumstances. For example, if you are unconscious at the scene of an accident and unable to perform the breath test, a blood sample can be taken without your consent.
Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney in Union County
If you are facing criminal charges for a DUI, it is imperative that you obtain skilled legal counsel as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected and you are able to secure the best possible outcome for your case. At Bridges, Jillisky, Streng, Weller & Gullifer, LLC in Union County, our experienced criminal defense team is dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation and will do what it takes to safeguard your future.
Get started on protecting your freedom and rights today and contact our law office at (937) 403-9033 to request your free initial case evaluation with one of our attorneys.