Do You Have to Take the Field Sobriety Test in Los Angeles, CA

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There are few things more stressful than being pulled over for a DUI or DWI traffic stop. But it is imperative that you keep your cool so that you may protect your rights. 

You’ll also have to make some decisions. Every decision that you make will have an impact on how your case eventually proceeds.

Pre-Field Sobriety Test Questions

You’ll know right away if you’re being pulled over as a DUI suspect and not just for a speeding ticket or a broken tail light. That is because the police will start asking some pointed questions. 

“Have you been drinking tonight?” is a big red flag. 

So is whether you have any physical or medical condition.

You’ll have to be careful here. You do not want to lie to the police, but neither do you want to hand them evidence. A lot of suspects panic at this point and say, “Yeah I just had one beer though,” or something similar. Once you’ve said something like that you have confessed to drinking before getting in the car.

People do that hoping to avoid an arrest, but it’s the conviction you should be most worried about. If you lie you can be charged with additional crime. If you answer, you can hand them evidence. If you weren’t drinking and have a medical condition you should say so, but if you were this is the time to begin invoking your 5th Amendment rights.

“I decline to answer, officer,” is an invocation of your rights, and is usually the least confrontational thing you can say.

Keep in mind the police will not read you a Miranda warning at this stage. You will have to proactively assert your rights.

The Field Sobriety Test

The police have every legal right to ask you to step out of your vehicle. Once they do, they’re likely to put you through the National Highway Safety Administration’s standardized field sobriety test. 

This includes the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the one leg stand test, and the walk-and-turn test. 

You now have to decide whether you’re going to take the test. On one hand you have every right to refuse. On the other, the refusal may be used against you because it can be used to show you have a “consciousness of guilt.” That is, it can be used to show that you knew you were guilty and deserve to be convicted.

In general, we would tell you to go ahead and take the test. It’s easier to attack the validity and accuracy of the test than it is to argue about your state of mind. 

The Breathalyzer Test 

The Breathalyzer Test, or preliminary alcohol screening test (PAS), is the next test that the cops will want you to take. You absolutely have the right to refuse the test in California, the police must inform you of your right to refuse, and a refusal cannot be used against you in court.

If you know you might have trouble with this test refusing it might be a good choice. It will likely result in your arrest, but it deprives the police of evidence. Once you get to the police statement you will be unable to legally refuse a blood test, but as your defense lawyers we can find a way around that.

Obtaining Counsel

Throughout the process you should be invoking your rights. Once you are arrested you should begin invoking your right to an attorney. Do not answer questions, do not say anything, just wait for your opportunity to call your lawyer.

In trouble? We’re here to help. Reach out to schedule a case review today.

See also: 

What to Do If You Get Arrested in Los Angeles, CA 

Supreme Court Debates Whether Miranda Rights Are 5th Amendment Rights 

What Does It Take to Get Criminal Charges Dropped in Los Angeles, CA?

Do You Have to Take the Field Sobriety Test in Los Angeles, CA

inne-rpage-seperator

There are few things more stressful than being pulled over for a DUI or DWI traffic stop. But it is imperative that you keep your cool so that you may protect your rights. 

You’ll also have to make some decisions. Every decision that you make will have an impact on how your case eventually proceeds.

Pre-Field Sobriety Test Questions

You’ll know right away if you’re being pulled over as a DUI suspect and not just for a speeding ticket or a broken tail light. That is because the police will start asking some pointed questions. 

“Have you been drinking tonight?” is a big red flag. 

So is whether you have any physical or medical condition.

You’ll have to be careful here. You do not want to lie to the police, but neither do you want to hand them evidence. A lot of suspects panic at this point and say, “Yeah I just had one beer though,” or something similar. Once you’ve said something like that you have confessed to drinking before getting in the car.

People do that hoping to avoid an arrest, but it’s the conviction you should be most worried about. If you lie you can be charged with additional crime. If you answer, you can hand them evidence. If you weren’t drinking and have a medical condition you should say so, but if you were this is the time to begin invoking your 5th Amendment rights.

“I decline to answer, officer,” is an invocation of your rights, and is usually the least confrontational thing you can say.

Keep in mind the police will not read you a Miranda warning at this stage. You will have to proactively assert your rights.

The Field Sobriety Test

The police have every legal right to ask you to step out of your vehicle. Once they do, they’re likely to put you through the National Highway Safety Administration’s standardized field sobriety test. 

This includes the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the one leg stand test, and the walk-and-turn test. 

You now have to decide whether you’re going to take the test. On one hand you have every right to refuse. On the other, the refusal may be used against you because it can be used to show you have a “consciousness of guilt.” That is, it can be used to show that you knew you were guilty and deserve to be convicted.

In general, we would tell you to go ahead and take the test. It’s easier to attack the validity and accuracy of the test than it is to argue about your state of mind. 

The Breathalyzer Test 

The Breathalyzer Test, or preliminary alcohol screening test (PAS), is the next test that the cops will want you to take. You absolutely have the right to refuse the test in California, the police must inform you of your right to refuse, and a refusal cannot be used against you in court.

If you know you might have trouble with this test refusing it might be a good choice. It will likely result in your arrest, but it deprives the police of evidence. Once you get to the police statement you will be unable to legally refuse a blood test, but as your defense lawyers we can find a way around that.

Obtaining Counsel

Throughout the process you should be invoking your rights. Once you are arrested you should begin invoking your right to an attorney. Do not answer questions, do not say anything, just wait for your opportunity to call your lawyer.

In trouble? We’re here to help. Reach out to schedule a case review today.

See also: 

What to Do If You Get Arrested in Los Angeles, CA 

Supreme Court Debates Whether Miranda Rights Are 5th Amendment Rights 

What Does It Take to Get Criminal Charges Dropped in Los Angeles, CA?

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