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Can you refuse a field sobriety test if police pull you over?

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2024 | DUI |

Being pulled over for a suspected DUI can be a stressful and confusing experience. One of the common scenarios is to perform a field sobriety test. Many drivers wonder if they have the right to refuse this test and what the consequences might be.

It’s important to understand your rights and the potential consequences of refusing a field sobriety test. This knowledge can help you make informed decisions if you ever find yourself in this situation.

Field sobriety tests and your rights

Car accidents involving drunk driving are increasing.  Police officers use field sobriety tests to assess whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These tests can include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk-and-turn, and one-leg stand tests. While you can refuse these tests, there are potential repercussions.

Consequences of refusal

Refusing to perform a field sobriety test does not carry the same immediate penalties as refusing a chemical test, like a breathalyzer. Yet, refusing a field sobriety test can still affect you. Potential consequences for refusing the test are:

  • The officer may still have probable cause to arrest you based on other observations, such as erratic driving, the smell of alcohol, or slurred speech.
  • Refusal can be used against you in court as evidence of potential intoxication.

Implied consent laws

Georgia’s implied consent laws apply to chemical tests (breath, blood, or urine) rather than field sobriety tests. Under these laws, refusing a chemical test after being arrested for DUI can result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license for a year.

Making an informed decision

Knowing your rights and the potential outcomes of refusing a field sobriety test can help you make better decisions. While you can legally refuse the test, understanding the broader implications can guide you in navigating this challenging situation.

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