Refusing a Field Sobriety or Preliminary Road Side Breath Test In Prince William
If you have been pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence it is important that you know your legal rights and the best way not to incriminate yourself.
The following is important information regarding two types of tests law enforcement officials often give those they suspect to be under the influence. As Prince William DUI lawyer Matthew Crowley explains, not all tests administered by police are mandatory, and it may in fact be in your best interest to refuse one or more of these tests.
To learn more about your legal rights at DUI stops or to seek legal representation call today and schedule a free consultation.
Can You Refuse to Perform Field Sobriety Test in Prince William County?
Yes. It is important for individuals to understand what their rights and responsibilities are in the course of a DUI traffic stop. On the one hand, individuals are required to identify themselves. They are required to provide identification. They’re breaking the law if they don’t do that. They are also required to obey the commands of the police.
So if the police tell you to get out of the vehicle, you have to do that. If a police tells you to sit and wait on the side of the curb in the course of the stop, you have to do that.
That being said, the Fifth Amendment guarantees the right not to incriminate yourself, which means that beyond identifying themselves, an individual does not have to talk to the police at all. For example, questions about where they’ve been or how much they’ve been drinking.
They don’t have to answers questions that are used as part of the field sobriety test in an attempt to determine whether they are intoxicated, nor do they have to perform the test themselves. They can politely decline to do that and the police cannot compel them to complete the test.
Can You Refuse to Take a Preliminary Road Side Breath Test?
Yes, you can refuse to take a preliminary road side breath test. And in most cases, people should refuse to take that test. The preliminary breath test is something that the police are required to offer when they believe they have probable cause to make a DUI arrest. The idea behind this was that it givens an individual an opportunity to show that they are not intoxicated.
But the reality is, in most DUI cases, the results of that preliminary breath test, while they are not admissible at the trial itself, the results of that test are almost always going to be used to assist the police officer at the side of the road in making his or her probable cause determination and will often facilitate arrest.
In the context of the trial, if the lawyer challenges whether there was probable cause for the arrest, then the result of that preliminary breath test can in fact come into evidence and be heard by the court even though otherwise it would not be admissible.