It is always important for you to know what your rights are, although many people have no idea what their rights are when it comes to a DUI sobriety test. If a police officer asks you to take a sobriety test, are you obligated to? If you have a choice, is it better to take the test or to decline? Most importantly, how does being under arrest affect this matter? This is a more complicated matter than you might realize, but this guide will tell you everything you need to know.
Taking a Sobriety Test
It is usually the right of every citizen to decline a sobriety test. However, if you are already under arrest then you do not have a choice in the matter. Someone who has been arrested must take a sobriety test if asked to, regardless of what he or she was arrested for. This means if you are arrested for driving without a license, you must still take the sobriety test if asked. There are a few other situations where this might be required:
- You are under the legal drinking age
- You are on probation for a DUI
- Your state has laws which require it
Why You Should Decline
If none of the above situations apply to you, you should always decline to take a sobriety test. Police officers need probable cause to make an arrest. A failed sobriety test is a strong type of probable cause. If the police officers already had probable cause, they would not need you to take a sobriety test. This means that a sobriety test can give the officers a reason to arrest you, but a passed test cannot prove your innocence. Essentially, there is nothing you can ever gain from taking a sobriety test.
It is very important that you have a good understanding of what the specific laws are for your state. Some states do have laws that make sobriety tests mandatory or create serious consequences for declining a test. While it is beneficial to decline a sobriety test, doing so when you do not have that option can get you into serious trouble.
If you want to know what your rights are, you should do your own research about the laws in your state. Alternatively, you can ask an attorney who specializes in DUI cases. If you have been accused of a DUI, the very first thing you should do is hire a DWI attorney in DC. Delaying in hiring legal representation only hurts your case.
Thanks to The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into criminal law and sobriety tests.