The Right Approach For The Right Situation

Can I refuse to take a field sobriety test in Pennsylvania?

| Jun 25, 2020 | DUI Defense

A fun night out can quickly turn into a stressful, potentially life-changing encounter if you get pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. While panic may set in as soon as you see the red-and-blue lights start flashing, it’s important to keep a cool head. You have rights at a traffic stop, and, even if the officer arrests you, a charge does not equal a conviction. You can mount a defense for a DUI charge. But what should you do in the moment? Should you comply with all the officer’s requests? The short answer is no.

Field sobriety tests are not mandatory

An officer may try to persuade you to take a field sobriety test, but you are under no obligation to comply. You have every right to refuse a field sobriety test, which does not fall under Pennsylvania’s implied consent laws. Attorneys can use field sobriety tests as evidence in the state’s case against you. It may not be wise to risk failure, which could compromise your defense in court.

What are the three most common field sobriety tests?

Police officers use these tests to evaluate competency and intoxication levels. You can refuse the test; however, the officer can arrest you with or without it.

Field sobriety tests are completely different from breathalyzer tests and urine tests, which fall under Pennsylvania’s implied consent law. As a driver in the state of Pennsylvania, you agree to submit to chemical tests to determine impairment. Failure to submit to a test of this kind can result in your arrest and incarceration.