Let’s say that you were invited out drinking at bars with your friends. However, you have no ride home as you live outside the city, and you brought your vehicle because you didn’t intent to drink much. Feeling as if you’re out of options, you get behind the wheel of your car while still intoxicated. As soon as you’re driving on the highway, you see the flashing lights of a police car behind you and know that you’ve been caught. The police officer determines at first glance that you’ve been drinking, so they ask you to perform some field sobriety tests. You may wonder: Do I have to engage in these tests?
To begin, you may want to gain a better understanding of what a field sobriety test is. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration officially endorses three different tests, known as the Horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk-and-turn, and one-leg stand. You are probably familiar with all three. Under California law, nobody can technically be forced to take the tests. However, under implied consent laws in California, if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who believes that you were driving under the influence, you are required to take a breath or blood test for a DUI. If you refuse to do so, it will not work out in your favor in court, because it is an admission of guilt.
Under California law, there are penalties for refusing to take a blood or breath test if you have not taken the field sobriety tests offered to you. For a first offense, you will receive a 1 year license suspension. A second offense is 2 years, and a third offense is an automatic 3 years. If you refuse, you will also have to pay a fine of $125.
Where to Turn
Let’s say that you refused to take your field sobriety tests or performed poorly enough to be suspected of a DUI – what happens next? You should always speak to an experienced DUI attorney so that we can review the police report and other details of your arrest, and advise you on your next steps. Call us today for more information.