February 22, 2017 |

Refusing Field Sobriety Tests: A Look at the Consequences

The arrest process can be extremely confusing and intimidating.  You may be asked to participate in field sobriety tests if you have been stopped by a police officer on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.  Field sobriety tests add more stress to an already difficult.  Contact a Brooklyn DWI attorney at Epstein & Conroy, P.C. today to discuss your rights after an arrest.

What is the Purpose of a Field Sobriety Test?

You may be asked to participate in a field sobriety test if you have been pulled over on suspicion of operating a vehicle while intoxicated (DWI or DUI).  The purpose of sobriety tests is to help an officer conclude whether, in fact, you were operating a vehicle while impaired.

There are several types of sobriety tests.

  • Verbal Questioning. Verbal questioning is a type of sobriety test where an officer will ask you a question or series of questions meant to test your cognitive state.  For example, the officer may ask you do recite the alphabet starting with the letter G.
  • Physical Acts. An officer may also request that you participate in a series of physical activities to test your balance and other motor skills.  For example, the officer may ask you to stand on one leg while touching your nose or to walk in a straight line.
  • Chemical Testing. Another type of field sobriety test is chemical testing. These tests rely on blood or breath samples to determine blood alcohol content.

Each of these tests has the potential to be administered incorrectly and produce inaccurate results.  There may be limited situations in which it will be in your best interest to decline participation in the testing.  For example, those suffering from leg or back injuries may appear to be intoxicated when asked to walk in a straight line.

Contact our offices if you have any questions about the different types of sobriety tests or if you believe that you participated in testing that was conducted improperly.

Can I Refuse to Participate in a Field Sobriety Test?

If you are arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving – or any other type of crime – you have the right to remain silent and you have the right to an attorney.  In most instances, you also have the right to refuse to participate in a field sobriety test.  Note, however, where there has been a death because of a vehicle accident, chemical testing may forcibly be done.  You should also be aware that refusing to participate in a field sobriety test can have serious consequences.

The punishment for refusing a sobriety test increases with each incident and includes having your driver’s license suspended, as well as steep fines, among other penalties.  You are subject to these penalties because driving is a privilege and, in New York State, there is “implied consent” to field sobriety testing.  Implied consent means that you agree to the submission of sobriety testing in exchange for the privilege of being able to operate your vehicle.

Contact us today if you have any questions about your ability to decline a field sobriety test.

How Can the DWI Attorneys at Epstein & Conroy, P.C. Help Me?

Contact Epstein & Conroy, P.C. if you have been arrested on a DWI charge.  We can explain your rights and options even if you have participated in a field sobriety test.  The experienced and dedicated attorneys at Epstein & Conroy, P.C. are here to protect and fight for your rights.

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