If you have been pulled over by law enforcement or otherwise contacted by law enforcement, and you have been asked whether you will submit to voluntary field sobriety tests, you have the right to refuse to submit to these tests.
There is no penalty for refusing these tests. It is unlawful for the police officer to arrest you solely for refusing field sobriety tests. Chances are, if the officer is asking you whether you mind performing some tests to “make sure you’re O.K. to drive”, the officer is going to arrest you anyway. The officer has presumed you to be guilty unless you prove yourself innocent beyond all doubt.
You should politely decline to perform any field sobriety tests.
The field sobriety tests consist usually of three tests: the eye test called Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, the walk and turn test, and the one leg stand test.
The officer’s opinion as to how well or poorly you perform on these tests will be admissible in court and in your DOL hearing against you. In addition, the officer may ask you to blow into his or her portable breath test device, or PBT for short. The PBT is not an alternative to the evidential breath test at the police station or jail where you are taken after being arrested. The PBT is not accurate or reliable and is not admissible in court to prove alcohol concentration or guilt under the DUI statute, but it is additional evidence that the officer may rely upon to establish probable cause for your arrest, if the proper protocols are followed.
In sum, it is in your best interests to politely decline all field sobriety tests. Without the field sobriety tests, the officer may not have probable cause to arrest you.
Call our DUI lawyer office in Lakewood, Washington to learn more about whether or not you can decline field sobriety tests.