You Have the Right to Say NO to a Sobriety Test

Did you know that you have the right to say “no” to a sobriety test?

When the police officer asks you whether you’ve been drinking, you can tell him that you don’t want to answer any questions without the advice of a lawyer.

You should get out of the car if he orders you to, because otherwise he can call backup and have you forcibly removed from the car.

But that’s the extent of your cooperation. Don’t answer questions about what you’ve eaten or drank that evening. Don’t answer questions about prescription medications. While these questions may seem conversational (the police officer has been trained in how to make them appear that way), they’re actually part of how he’ll build the case against you.

Remember, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you.

The next thing the police officer will try to get you to do is to take a field sobriety test. This may involve walking in a straight line or following a pen light with your eyes. Remember, at this point, the officer has already decided that you’re drunk. If you cooperate, you’re just helping him build the case against you.

If you are arrested, you will have the option of doing a breath, blood, or urine test. You have the right to turn these down. However, if you do, you could lose your driver’s license for a long stretch. This is because when you received your driver’s license, you gave “implied consent” to taking these tests. Sometimes, the penalty for not taking the alcohol tests is more severe than the penalty for a first time DUI would be. However, losing your license is an administrative, not a criminal, punishment.

The police and the prosecutors are required to present evidence against you. Don’t make it easy for them by handing them their case on a platter with your words and actions.

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