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Can I refuse to take Field Sobriety Tests for Drunk Driving?

Field sobriety tests are NOT MANDATORY in California. Santa Barbara DUI lawyers are often asked this very question. In fact there is no state law that requires a suspected Santa Barbara drunk driver to submit to any field sobriety tests when stopped on suspicion of DUI.  Santa Barbara Officers who stop you won’t tell you this, and in turn will use the results of the tests to justify your arrest and to accumulate evidence to be used against you in a DUI trial becoming one of the Santa Barbara DUI Statistics, or at the DMV for a driver’s license suspension.

It is your right to politely refuse to accept the invitation to submit to any exercises or so called field sobriety tests. It is permissible and advisable to pass on the officer’s request to complete these.

These tests, as used, are generally subjective, inaccurate, re-designed for failure, and not based on the scientific or physiological fact or reasoning.  Successful performance or completion of these tests is based entirely upon the opinion of the officer. Many of my clients tell me they feel that they performed these tests with excellent results, rarely is this reflected in the police officers viewpoint or the DUI arrest report.

When asked by the officer to submit to a series of field sobriety tests, simply say you’d rather not.

Where much confusion, trickery, and misleading occurs is with the breath testing field sobriety test, also known as a “preliminary alcohol screening,” or PAS test, which IS NOT the same as the breath test following your arrest, and should not be confused with the “implied consent” blood and/or breath tests.

The use of PAS test is governed by California Vehicle Code §23612(i) which states:

“If the officer decides to use a preliminary alcohol screening test, the officer shall advise the person that he or she is requesting that person to take a preliminary alcohol screening test to assist the officer in determining if that person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs. The person’s obligation to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test, as required by this section, for the purpose of determining the alcohol or drug content of that person’s blood, is not satisfied by the person submitting to a preliminary alcohol screening test. The officer shall advise the person of that fact and of the person’s right to refuse to take the preliminary alcohol screening test.”

If you were stopped for DUI, did the officer advise you of the fact and of your right to refuse to take the preliminary alcohol screening test? The answer I hear most often is, “No.”

If you were arrested you need to find a DUI LawyerSanta Barbara DUI Attorney Kenneth M. Hallum offers a free case consultation. Call today 805-564-3101. Know your rights, options and defenses against drunk driving.

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About Santa Barbara DUI Attorney Kenneth M. Hallum:
As a DUI defense attorney, Kennnth Hallum is dedicated to an understanding of the art and science of California DUI defense with memberships in the California DUI Lawyers Association, the National College of DUI Defense, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the California Public Defenders Association, and the State Bar of California.

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