When an officer pulls you over and suspects that alcohol has impaired you to the point where you are legally unable to drive, they may ask you to compete a breathalyzer test or a test of your blood or urine. This test will determine your level of intoxication, also known as blood alcohol content.

All states in America have implied consent laws. These laws state that by driving you have given your consent to have your blood, breath and urine tested in the event that a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of a DUI.

What about field sobriety tests?

Because of the implied consent law, refusing to take a chemical test can put you in a situation where you will face penalty. However, the same does not go for field sobriety tests, another tactic used by law enforcement to determine if you are under the influence or not.

Likely before the police ask you to complete a chemical test, they will ask you to complete a variety of field sobriety tests. You are not legally obligated to take these tests. The tests include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, one-leg stand as well as walk-and-turn. If you do refuse the field sobriety tests, the officer will likely ask you to complete chemical testing next.

Penalties for refusing chemical testing

When you refuse to take a chemical test, whether it be either breath, blood or urine, the penalties are high. Police may take a refusal as an admission of guilt. You will face an automatic license suspension of:

  • One year (first offense)
  • Two years (second offense)
  • Three years (third offense)

When an officer pulls you over for drunk driving, you may find that you are anxious and confused. Knowing the rules for chemical testing and your rights for field sobriety tests may help you avoid certain penalties.