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Do I Have to Take a Field Sobriety Test?


After being stopped by a police officer who suspects you are driving under the influence, one of the first things he or she is likely to ask is to take a field sobriety test. You are probably familiar with them and have likely seen others perform them, or might have even been asked to perform them yourself. However, these tests are often inaccurate indicators of sobriety or the lack thereof. Unlike breathalyzer tests, field sobriety tests cannot definitely prove whether or not an individual is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Refusing a Field Sobriety Test

An officer is generally not going to ask a driver to submit to field sobriety tests unless he or she believes that person is driving under the influence. This essentially means that, before you ever even consider your response, the officer has already made up his or her mind about your guilt and is simply looking to build more evidence against you. In fact, agreeing to submit to these tests will typically only help the State rather than assist you in your defense, which is why it is best to politely decline performing any field sobriety tests.

It is important not to confuse the breathalyzer test with field sobriety tests. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, your license will be suspended for 12 months. If you are hoping that the absence of a result will help your case, chances are that it will not. On the other hand, you are not required to take any field sobriety tests and will not face any penalties for your refusal.

What is a field sobriety test? There are many kinds, though the ones you are likely most familiar with include the one-leg stand and the walk-and-turn test. These can and should be refused. Of course, refusing them does not mean you will not get arrested. The fact is that the officer is asking you to take these tests because he or she believes you are driving under the influence. By refusing, however, you are depriving the State of additional evidence against you, giving your criminal defense attorney a better chance at winning your case.

Never forget that these tests are practically designed to make even a sober person look drunk, so no matter how sober you are, it is in your best interests to refuse to submit to any field sobriety test.

DUI Attorney in Illinois

If you have been charged with a DUI in Illinois, you should not hesitate to obtain the skilled legal representation you need at this time to protect your future and your rights. At the Law Office of Steven H. Fine, we have been providing fierce legal advocacy for our clients for more than 20 years and possess a thorough understanding of the criminal justice system. Let us help you!

Your future is too important to risk not having the best criminal defense team on your side.

Call us today at (312) 436-0638 to schedule a free consultation.