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Can you refuse a field sobriety test in California?

On Behalf of | May 25, 2023 | DUI Charges

Driving while under the influence of alcohol is taken very seriously in the state of the California. Convictions for DUI can lead to massive fines and lengthy jail sentences. Some people who are under the suspicion of DUI after a traffic stop may assume that their best shot of avoiding a conviction is refusing a field sobriety case. However, is that really the case?

The legality of refusing a field sobriety test

In many states, refusing a field sobriety test will get you in hot water with the police and increase your chances of being convicted of a DUI. This is not the case in the state of California. Instead, refusing to take one is a perfectly legal action. In fact, in many cases, it may be the best choice since the results of a field sobriety test can be used against you in a court of law. If a California police officer makes it seem like a test has to be taken, you should be aware of your right to refuse.

The flaws of field sobriety tests

There are very good reasons to want to avoid a field sobriety test after being pulled over by the police. The tests given tend to have certain flaws that can make their reliability questionable at best. These include the fact that the tests can be negatively influenced by:

  • Physical disability
  • Medication use
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Police errors
  • Weight, height and age
  • Low blood sugar
  • Migraine headaches

Such issues can lead to false positives in a field sobriety test and innocent people being charged with the crime of drunk driving they never actually committed.

In many cases, it may be best to simply avoid these tests all together especially if you have concerns that things like your medical issues or physical disabilities could make you fail. If you live in the state of California, it is within your rights to do so.