Nobody wants to see those red and blue lights flashing in their rearview mirror – but the situation can go from frustrating to serious if the officer starts asking you questions that clearly indicate they think you are impaired.
It likely won’t be long before you’re asked to take a field sobriety test. These tests, (of which the one-legged stand test, the walk-and-turn test and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test are the most common) are supposed to allow the officer to gauge whether or not you may be impaired without the use of chemical testing, like a Breathalyzer.
Here’s why you should politely decline to participate:
1. You will never convince the officer you’re sober.
If the officer has asked you to submit to field sobriety testing, forget all about the idea that you’ll quickly show the officer you’re sober. The reality is that those tests are only between 65% and 77% accurate – and that’s under ideal conditions.
Plus, whether or not you pass the test is based on the officer’s subjective opinion – and they already believe you’re impaired. That could easily color their judgment against you as they interpret your actions in the least-favorable light.
2. You are under no legal obligation to agree to the tests.
You may realize that the state’s implied consent laws require you to comply with a request for chemical testing, like a blood, breath or urine test, but no law requires you to agree to roadside sobriety tests.
By refusing, you stop any “fishing expeditions” the officer may be on to try to justify the demand for a Breathalyzer test or something similar. If you agree to the test, you just give them more opportunity to probe further into your business.
If you’ve never been charged with a DWI before, the whole situation may feel surreal – but you need to be proactive about protecting your rights, your reputation, your driver’s license and your future.