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Can you refuse roadside sobriety tests?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2022 | DUI Defense |

You may have been driving one night and had a cop pull you over. The officer may have thought you were driving under the influence (DUI) because you were swerving while driving, driving much slower or faster than intended or leaving a blinker on for much too long. 

The officer may have asked you a few questions and thought they smelled the smell of alcohol on your breath, causing them to ask you to do a few roadside sobriety tests. This may have you wondering “Do I have to do a roadside sobriety test?” Here’s what you should know:

You can and should refuse roadside sobriety tests

There are several problems with doing roadside sobriety tests, but first, you should know what a cop might ask you to do. There are three most notable tests endorsed by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

First, the “horizontal gaze nystagmus” involves seeing if there are any anomalies when keeping your eyes on a focused point. While intoxication or drugs can make it difficult to stay focused, several other factors might make you fail this test. You may have a disability with your eyes or a lack of sleep can make it harder to focus, causing you to fail the sobriety test. 

Second, the “walk and turn” asks you to walk a short distance in a straight line. It can be harder to do this while under the influence, but again, disabilities like a limp or dizziness could be the cause of a failed test.

Third and final, the “one-leg stand” test is meant to see if you have poor balance because of alcohol or drug use. This test may seem ridiculous if you naturally have poor balance or if age or disability hinders you.

While you can’t refuse a breathalyzer test, sobriety tests such as these are often done by new police recruits with little to no training or basis. You may have been wrongly accused of DUI because of the failure of an officer’s training.