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What Happens If You Refuse to Perform a Field Sobriety Test?

When police officers stop drivers on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, they are likely to ask the driver to perform at least one field sobriety test (FST). You have the right to refuse these tests.

Field sobriety tests

Most police officers are trained to administer several types of FSTs. These include standing on one leg while counting for 30 seconds, walking in a straight line then turning around and walking back and following a pen while only moving the eyes.

You are typically free to refuse a FST, but you may not be able to speak with an attorney until you decide whether you will complete a test. Anyone who wishes to refuse a FST should do so as politely as possible. 

Roadside Breathalyzer tests

During a roadside preliminary breath test (PBT), an officer directs the driver to blow into a hand-held device that measures the amount of alcohol in his or her breath, which indicates the blood alcohol content. This test is not considered reliable enough to be used as evidence in court, should the case make it that far, and you can refuse the PBT without losing your driver’s license. You will initially lose your driver’s license, however, if you refuse to submit to a blood test or a breathalyzer test at the police station.

For more information on your rights when pulled over on suspicion of DUI, contact skilled Berks County criminal defense lawyer David R. Eshelman.


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