You may not realize it, but it is possible for you to get charged with DUI even if you are not driving your car. If an officer walks up to you while you are sitting behind the wheel in your vehicle and smells alcohol on your breath, she or he has the right to detain you based on suspicion of intoxicated driving.
At this point, the officer will ask you to perform some field sobriety tests so he or she can determine your level of intoxication.
However, refusing a field sobriety test will not prevent you from being charged with a DUI. It could lead to additional charges, penalties and complications with your situation. Here is a brief overview of what is likely to happen when you refuse field sobriety testing.
Your driver's license is your consent
You may be wondering if you can legally refuse field sobriety testing. One of the conditions you agree to when you receive your driver's license is to comply with law enforcement and participate in field sobriety testing; this is known as implied consent. It may seem like a good idea for you to say no to testing if you had one or two light drinks, but not enough to put your BAC over the legal limit.
Field sobriety tests can show impairment
Field sobriety testing does not inform the officer of your BAC. The tests merely show whether you are under the effects of alcohol. It is possible for you to fail field sobriety tests with a low BAC. Refusing the tests will result in the suspension of your driver's license for one year. If this is your second or third time refusing field sobriety testing, the state will suspend your license for two to three years respectively.
Before you find yourself in a position where you have are being asked to perform field sobriety tests, you should consider the consequences of saying no. You may find yourself having to defend your reasons for refusal in addition to a DUI charge.