The answer is NO, you will not get in trouble if you refuse to take the DUI field sobriety tests because they are voluntary tests. Meaning any person asked or told to take the field sobriety test has the legal right to decide if they want to take the test or not. If an individual refuses to take the test, the officer must comply with their choice and continue the DUI investigation without any field sobriety tests. That individual will not incur any consequence because he or she exercised their right to refuse the voluntary tests.
So why do so many people end up taking the DUI field sobriety tests? The number one reason is that they are uninformed about the “voluntary” aspect. Officers are legally required to tell every individual that the field sobriety test are voluntary, however, many officers fail to use the word voluntary. Instead, they use words and phrases that make the individual feel obligated to take the field tests, such as, “next you will perform the DUI field sobriety tests,” or “Let’s begin the field sobriety tests.” And thus many people have taken the field sobriety tests without having knowledge that the tests were voluntary.
Additional reasons people take the DUI field sobriety tests include; being scared and nervous; wanting to cooperate with the officer; and lastly being heavily intoxicated which often hinders good decision-making.
Here at David O Defense, we always recommend the refusal of the DUI field sobriety tests. The tests are difficult and set up in a manner in which most people will fail. Later the failed test results may be used against an individual when prosecuting them for the DUI.
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