In most states, if you are suspected of drunk driving, you must take a blood alcohol content test such as a breathalyzer when asked to do so by police or face very harsh penalties. But police must have reasonable suspicion that you have been drinking before they can ask you to take a BAC test.
To establish reasonable suspicion police use a range of questions and DUI pre-screening or field sobriety tests. You are not required to answer the questions or to participate in any of the tests. If you do go along with these tests you are only giving the officer the reasonable suspicion he or she needs to require you to take a BAC test.
Refuse to Have a Nice Chat and Avoid a DUI Test
One of the simplest ways for police to get the reasonable suspicion they need to administer a BAC test is to just ask you if you have had anything to drink. Do not admit to having had even one drink. If you do, that’s reasonable suspicion.
The officer may also ask you where you have been and what you’ve been doing. This may seem very innocent but if you admit to having been out with friends or attending a sports event or being anywhere where alcohol is commonly served you have given the officer reasonable suspicion. You are not required to answer these questions or to have a friendly chat with police.
Refuse the DUI Field Sobriety Tests
If you are stopped by police the officer may ask you to take a field sobriety test such as the one-leg-stand, finger-to-nose or the nystagmus test which involves the officer shining a flash light in your eyes and looking for erratic eye motion.
These tests have just one purpose, to give the officer the reasonable suspicion he or she needs to require you to take a BAC test. You have almost no chance of passing these tests. Some of them, like the one-leg-stand, could be difficult for a trained athlete to perform perfectly and your pass or fail grade rests not with a panel of judges but entirely with the police officer. You are not required to perform these tests and you should politely refuse to do so without getting drawn into a conversation with the officer. Don’t make excuses for not taking the test, just refuse.
The most important point to remember is that if you are charged with a DUI offence and the case ends up in court the officer must be able to justify requiring you to take the BAC test. Don’t give the police extra ammunition by talking too much or taking a field sobriety test that is all but impossible to pass.