You may have heard that you are protecting your legal rights if you refuse to take a sobriety test when you are pulled over. However, it is important for you and other Missouri residents to understand that refusing a test does not come without consequences, and may not prevent a law enforcement officer from arresting you.

You might think that only people who are actually intoxicated receive drunk driving convictions. Unfortunately, this is not always true. An officer may arrest you based on his or her personal judgment that you were drinking, which may not have been the case. Here, we will discuss what might happen if you refuse to submit to a sobriety test.

Can I refuse a field sobriety test?

You have the right to tell an officer you do not want to perform a field sobriety test, and for good reason. You might not have had anything to drink, but you could still fail a field sobriety test because you have poor balance, a speech impediment, anxiety, allergies or another condition that leads an officer to think you are intoxicated. The officer may attempt to intimidate you into submitting to a field sobriety test. In this case, you can calmly state that you refuse to take it.

What is implied consent?

Implied consent means that you agreed to submit to a breath test when requested by law enforcement, as a condition of getting your driver’s license. If you refuse a breath test, you will automatically lose your license for one year. You may, however, refuse a blood test without a warrant in most cases. If you are involved in a traffic accident that left you unconscious, an officer believes alcohol was a factor and it is crucial to get chemical results quickly, you might have a blood test while you are unconscious without your consent.

Defending a DUI charge can be complicated, especially if you were accused of refusing a sobriety test because the officer believed you had something to hide. It is important to seek experienced legal counsel to protect your rights.