Sometimes a night out does not end with you safe and sound in your own bed. Sometimes, it can end with handcuffs and a visit to lockup. If New Orleans law enforcement officers pull you over while you are on your way home from Happy Hour, the police may ask you to step out of the car to undergo a series of tests.
Field sobriety tests are part of the tools that officers have at their disposal to determine if someone is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The big question you may be asking yourself is whether you are obligated to participate in one of these tests. You may also be wondering what happens if you refuse to take a field sobriety test or submit to a blood draw. Read below to find out more about what you can expect if you refuse a sobriety test.
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) supports three different type of field tests, however, there may be others that a law enforcement officer asks you to perform. The three tests that the NHTSA endorses are the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), walk-and-turn (WAT), and the one-leg stand (OLS).
You have the right to refuse to take any of these tests, no matter how insistent the requesting officer is. However, refusal to take a field sobriety test does not mean that the officer will not place you under arrest. If a police officer has enough reason to believe that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may still wind up in jail for the night.
Refusing a breathalyzer
After you go through the battery of tests mentioned above, the police might ask you to take a breathalyzer or blow into a preliminary alcohol screening device. This test can determine whether or not there is alcohol in your system and its level. This test, like the field sobriety tests, are investigative tools that officers use to decide if there is enough probable cause to arrest you.
While you can refuse to submit to an evidentiary breath test or a give a blood sample, the refusal might carry some serious repercussions. For example, you could immediately lose your license and suddenly see your car insurance rates increase. The reason for this is that there are implied consent laws. This means that by possessing a driver’s license, you have implied your consent to submit to a breath test if a police officer asks you to do so. While states can criminalize your refusal to take a breath test, you have the legal right to refuse to give a blood sample.
If you are facing a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge, it is important to remember that you still have rights and options. Your attorney can help you fight back against the charges in a court of law.