Refusing to Perform a Field Sobriety Test or Preliminary Breath Test After an Ocean City DUI
Below are frequently asked questions regarding the refusal of DUI tests such as field sobriety tests and preliminary breath tests. To learn more schedule a consultation with an Ocean City DUI lawyer today.
Can You Refuse to Perform a Field Sobriety Test or PBT Test?
Yes, you can. You would not want to refuse to get out of the vehicle. The law is clear that an officer can order a driver out of the car. So you would have to be very careful about refusing to get out of your vehicle.
However, a person absolutely has the right to refuse to do any standardized field sobriety test. They have the right to refuse to take the preliminary breath test. Now, there could be consequences to that refusal, but yes, people should know that they have the right to say no.
I always tell people that if you are refusing, you should do so very respectfully and very clearly, by saying: “Thank you but no, I will not be doing these tests and I would like to speak with my lawyer.”
You can refuse to take the breathalyzer test at the police department, also, but there will sanctions from the MVA for refusing to take it.
Consequences of Refusing Field Sobriety Tests in Ocean City
As far as Ocean City is concerned, even if a person refuses to take the tests, they probably still would end up getting charged because the officer would probably articulate enough information in some other way to justify arresting the person for driving under the influence.
This can be based on erratic driving behaviors. For example, if they had seen the person weaving on the highway, they can articulate it as though the person could not keep their car in their lane.
Then the officer stopped the vehicle, walked up to the door and the driver was fumbling to find his license, speech was slurred, smells of alcohol et cetera. In such a scenario, that person would probably end up being charged even if they did refuse to take the field sobriety test, and even if they did refuse to take a PBT.
Ultimately this goes to the fact that charging somebody is a very, very different standard than being able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person committed the offense.
I would want to make it clear that refusing to do the tests would not necessarily mean avoiding getting the citations. But it would limit the state’s evidence to use against that person at a trial.