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Do I Have to Consent to a Field Sobriety Test?

Many people, when pulled over by police, think they are required to perform a field sobriety test.  They worry that if they refuse, it could be used against them as evidence of drunk driving. The truth is you are not required to perform a field sobriety test. And in many cases, it may be best to refuse. As a Portland defense lawyer, you are not required to help the police gather evidence against you, so you will not be punished for refusing this test.

This is different than a refusal to take a breath test after being arrested for drunk driving. Those tests are, in fact, required by law. Refusing to perform that test does carry criminal penalties, so a person should think long and hard before refusing. But a field sobriety test is very different.

A field sobriety test is performed before a person has been arrested. The police are trying to gather evidence of impaired driving, so they want you to perform these tests to see your coordination. The Constitution guarantees that you do not have to aid in prosecution against yourself, so you are free to refuse this test. This obviously doesn’t mean that you will prevent being arrested, but it could prevent evidence to be used later. The jury won’t hear that you refused a field sobriety test, but they could hear evidence of a failed field sobriety test.

At Kroll & Johnson, we know how difficult it can be to be charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants. We will aggressively defend your liberty and do everything possible to achieve the best outcome possible for your particular case. If you have been arrested for DUII in Portland or anywhere in Oregon, we can help. For a free consultation with a defense lawyer, contact Kroll & Johnson right away.

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