You may be asking yourself what you could do “voluntarily” to give a police officer the evidence he or she needs in order to arrest you for DUI. After all, once the officer stops you, don’t you have to do whatever he or she says? Actually, no, you don’t have to do whatever the officer asks.
You do need to provide some information to establish your identity, but beyond that, you can politely refuse to answer any questions. Okay, you may have known that you have the right to remain silent, but did you know you also have the right to refuse to participate in field sobriety tests?
The officer can’t force you to participate
You have no obligation to participate in field sobriety tests, and you may want to think twice about doing so since — believe it or not — even sober people fail them. Age, gender, physical health and more can affect your ability to pass these tests, and if you fail, you provide the officer with probable cause to arrest you on suspicion of DUI. For this reason, the officer will more than likely attempt to force you to participate or otherwise convince you to do so through the following tactics:
- “If you take the test, it will prove to me that you can drive safely.”
- “If you aren’t hiding something, wouldn’t you want to prove it to me?”
- “If you aren’t impaired, why not participate?”
- “Prove my suspicions wrong by taking the tests.”
- “If you refuse to participate, the jury will think you are impaired and knew it.”
These statements may make you think twice, but you don’t have to let them persuade you to potentially incriminate yourself. You can continue to politely refuse. You do need to know that not taking the field sobriety tests may not keep the officer from arresting you, however. He or she may believe that other factors provide enough “evidence” to arrest you.
If that happens, you may want to exercise another of your rights as soon as you can — the right to an attorney. A DUI conviction could have serious ramifications to your life beyond fines and jail time, especially if you drive for a living. The sooner you begin protecting your rights, the greater the odds are that you can achieve the best possible outcome under the circumstances.