Although some police officers will wish to administer a Breathalyzer test soon after pulling over a motorist who is showing signs of being inebriated, many others will first ask the driver to perform some field sobriety tests. These simple tests, conducted at the side of the road, are used to identify whether or not the motorist may be intoxicated. Should the driver struggle to perform them, the officer may follow up with a Breathalyzer test. Although you might feel that you should perform these tests, it's OK to refuse to do so. Here are some reasons that this can be a good idea.
The Officer May Know That He/She Lacks Probable Cause
For a suspected DUI stop to occur, the officer should have probable cause. However, not every police officer has a justified reason to pull a motorist over. The police officer may be aware that he or she lacks probable cause but wants to quickly assess if you've been drinking based on how you perform the field sobriety tests. Should you refuse, the officer may remember that probable cause was lacking and, as long as you're not showing visual signs of inebriation, actually let you go.
It's Easier For Your Defense
When you hire a DUI attorney to represent you after being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, he or she will look to refute various claims about your case. If you blatantly failed the field sobriety tests, which are often captured on video from the police officer's body camera, defending you instantly becomes more difficult. For example, it's a challenge to get your DUI charge dropped if there's video evidence of you stumbling around on the side of the road. Refusal to perform the tests makes your defense much easier.
You Simply Don't Have To
You may not be aware that you don't actually have to perform these tests, even if the police officer is instructing you to do so. You have a right to seek counsel before anything progresses, and while it's probable that the officer will charge you with a suspected DUI because of your refusal to perform the tests, you're still in a better position than someone who performs the tests and fails. In fact, you also have the right to speak to legal representation on the scene, so you can indicate that you do not wish to perform the tests and that you want to call an attorney right away.
For more information, contact a law office like Thomas & Associates, PC.