Can I Refuse to Take a Field Sobriety Test?

If a police officer has reason to believe that you are driving while intoxicated, he or she will ask that you step out of the vehicle and submit to one or a series of field sobriety tests (FSTs). These tests are designed to determine whether or not the officer’s suspicions were correct and establish probable cause for a DWI arrest.

The three most common field sobriety tests include:

  1. The One Leg Stand
  2. The Walk and Turn
  3. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

Although most drivers try to be cooperative and perform these tests upon request, it is imperative to understand that you are NOT legally required to take a field sobriety test in Minnesota. Even if you had one drink or nothing to drink at all, it would be in your best interest not to perform any of these tests.

The following are common reasons why you might appear intoxicated while performing field sobriety tests:

  1. You are injured or have a health condition
  2. You have poor balance and coordination
  3. It is cold outside and you are shivering
  4. Your footwear (i.e. high heels, flip-flops, etc.)
  5. Inclement weather, such as the wind is blowing hard
  6. You are extremely nervous

Can you still be arrested if you refuse to perform the field sobriety tests? Yes, you can.

If the officer felt like he had enough evidence for probable cause, then he or she will arrest you for DWI if you politely refuse to take a test. However, there will be less evidence against you and you have a constitutional right not to provide evidence that is self-incriminating.

If you have been arrested for a DWI, you are required to take a chemical (blood or breath) test according to Minnesota’s implied consent law. Failure to do so will result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license.

For more information, contact our Minneapolis criminal defense attorney at Brockton D. Hunter, P.A. today.