Will Refusing a Field Sobriety Test Hurt My Case?

California’s “implied consent” law requires all drivers who are lawfully arrested for driving under the influence to submit to chemical testing to determine their blood alcohol percentage (BAC). While you have the option to choose which test you want to take—blood or breath—refusing to take a chemical test may result in a hefty fine, losing your license and even jail time, if you are still convicted of a DUI.

But what happens if you refuse a field sobriety test?

After pulling over a driver they believe is under the influence of alcohol, most police officers will tell the driver to step out of the car and perform a number of tests that help them determine if there is cause to arrest a person for a DUI—known as field sobriety tests (FSTs). Unfortunately, these tests are difficult to perform sober and in reality, are designed to fail you. However, you are not required by law to take a field sobriety test, regardless of what the officer says. An officer may get upset or annoyed if you say no to the tests, but if you politely decline, there is nothing an officer can do against you in retaliation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that FSTs are unreliable. Uneven pavement, loud noises, crippling anxiety, medical problems and many other factors can result in you failing a field sobriety test, so the best thing you can do is refuse, because if you fail, it can be used against you in court.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, please contact our Pasadena DUI attorneys at Tedford & Associates today. Whether you submit to an FST or not, your best chance of retaining your license and keeping a conviction from disrupting your life is to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Call (626) 325-0142or contact us onlinefor a free consultation.


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