Can You Refuse a Field Sobriety Test?

Can You Refuse a Field Sobriety Test?

Do you have to perform the field sobriety tests in a DUI case? Hi, my name is Dale Savage and I’m a criminal defense attorney here in Charleston, SC. Today we’re talking about whether you have to perform the roadside field sobriety tests in a DUI investigation.

You Can Say No

In South Carolina roadside field sobriety tests are not mandatory.  That means the tests are voluntary, you are not legally required to perform them although police will make it seem like you do.

This is important because refusing to perform field sobriety tests are different from refusing to provide a breath sample.

Not the Same as Refusing Breath Test

A breath test refusal triggers the implied consent laws which means

  • Suspended for 6 months;
  • Enroll in ADSAP;
  • A route restricted license is your only option to drive legally during the suspension.

Importantly, refusing to perform SFT’s does not trigger the implied consent laws so you do not lose your license for refusing the tests.  Which leaves you with the question, why would you agree to take them?  You shouldn’t, there’s no legal benefit to you.

Police will demonstrate the tests but they are not going to tell you how the tests are graded.  They won’t tell you that if you don’t stay in the start position while they demonstrate the test that counts as a clue for impairment, if you do not turn exactly how they demonstrate it on the walk and turn test that counts against you for impairment.  You get one chance to get it right on a test you’ve never trained to take.

Refusing the tests doesn’t mean that you won’t be arrested for DUI, but remember police already think you are under the influence because they are asking you to do the tests.  As with most cases in criminal defense, do not provide police any information that you are not legally required to do, 99 times out of a 100 it simply doesn’t make your legal situation any better.

Mt. Pleasant, SC DUI Attorney

If have been charged with a DUI and want to discuss your options, please call me at (843) 530-7813.  I hope this video was helpful and thanks for watching.

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