Do I need to comply with field sobriety testing?
Finding yourself stopped for a DUI can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. It is easy for individuals who are stopped to hurt their case by inadvertently providing the arresting officer with powerful evidence to be used against you. While it is undoubtedly difficult to maintain your cool during a DUI stop, if you take the time now to understand your rights you can feel more confident. Read on below to find out three ways in which you can avoid unnecessarily giving an officer evidence against you during a suspected DUI stop.
- Invoke Your Right to Be Silent
When you are stopped, officers will ask you some preliminary questions. Legally, your only obligations are to provide your driver’s license, registration, and automobile insurance. You should at all times be polite and courteous, but know that you are under no obligation to answer additional questioning. It is common for an arresting officer to attempt to gather evidence against you by asking seemingly harmless questions like “Where are you coming from” or “Have you had anything to drink tonight?” Your answers to these questions will undoubtedly be used against you. Simply invoke your right to be silent by stating that you do not wish to answer any questions.
- Consider Refusing the Roadside Breathalyzer
Roadside breathalyzers are used to gather initial evidence of your intoxication. Should you fail the breathalyzer test, you will likely then be asked to perform field sobriety testing and take an additional, evidentiary breathalyzer or blood test back at the police station. Complying with the roadside breathalyzer can offer strong evidence of your intoxication, and these devices are known to have a certain degree of inaccuracy. You have the right to refuse the breathalyzer test per Arizona law, but it does come with some consequences. Typically, a refusal will equate to suspension of your driver’s license for 12 months, but there may be a way to get it back sooner.
- Decline Field Sobriety Testing
Many drivers are surprised to hear that complying with roadside field sobriety testing is completely voluntary. You will face no penalties by declining the testing. You might, in fact, be saving yourself a trip to jail by refusing the field sobriety tests because these tests often serve to provide extensive evidence of your intoxication. If you meet resistance after refusing the testing, ask to call a DUI attorney and ensure your lawyer is on the scene before you submit to the tests.