Drivers who encounter police that suspect them of driving while impaired may have no idea what to expect when officers pull them over, especially if they have no previous experience with a DWI arrest. Many believe that they can prove they are not impaired by passing the field sobriety tests. However, it often comes as a shock when the officer fails them and places them under arrest. That is why many legal professionals recommend refusing to submit to such tests.
What some Minnesota drivers do not realize is that it is within their rights to decline to take the field sobriety tests. An officer may ask in a manner that sounds like a command, but it is still the driver’s choice. Declining is often the wise decision for the following reasons:
- Police use field sobriety tests to obtain probable cause for an arrest and evidence to use against a driver in court.
- Officers often decide a driver is impaired before they even pull the car over, and the tests are simply to confirm their hunch.
- The failed field sobriety test results in an arrest before the driver can prove he or she is sober with a breath or blood test.
- The outcome of the tests are highly subjective based on the officer’s bias.
- Failing the tests may be the result of a driver’s medical conditions, emotional state, age or countless other factors.
Drivers can politely refuse to take the field sobriety tests but there is still a chance (a good chance) police will arrest a driver who refuses to consent to the tests. However, the driver will not have provided damaging evidence based on an officer’s subjective opinion.