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Consequences of refusing the field sobriety tests

On Behalf of | May 25, 2022 | Drunk Driving |

Hopefully, you will never find out, but you may be wondering what your rights are if an officer pulls you over with the suspicion that you are driving under the influence. To help the officer determine if you are driving impaired, he or she will usually ask you to partake in a few roadside tests.

Whether or not you have been drinking, you do have a right to refuse any or all of the tests. However, doing so may result in unwanted consequences.

What constitutes impaired driving

Most people understand that driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher results in a DUI charge. However, you can also face a DUI with a lower BAC if you are unable to operate a vehicle safely due to alcohol or drug use. Even if you have not had anything to drink, you could face a DUI, as many prescription drugs interfere with driving abilities. FindLaw discusses that field sobriety tests are part of the officer’s investigative process.

Common sobriety tests

One of the tests commonly requested by a police officer is the one-leg stand, and another is the walk-and-turn. Both of these examine the ability to follow directions and overall coordination. Another common one is the nystagmus test, which looks for exacerbated involuntary jerking of the eye.

Consequences for refusal

There is no legal requirement for you to take the field sobriety tests, so you have the right to refuse with no consequence. However, if the officer suspects you have had too much to drink, he or she will more than likely ask you to blow into a breathalyzer to determine your BAC.

Although you can refuse this test as well, the Missouri Department of Revenue states that there will be consequences due to implied consent. Upon refusal, you face an automatic revocation or suspension of your driver’s license for one year. This remains in effect even if the court disposes of the initial ticket or if there is a reduction of charges.

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