Are Field Sobriety Tests Mandatory in California?

If you are pulled over by police because they suspect you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then the officer is likely going to ask you to perform a field sobriety test. At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, we take great pride in protecting the rights of individuals accused of DUI, which is why we are here to help you understand your options and whether you can refuse to take a field sobriety test in the state of California.

Refusing a Field Sobriety Test

If you are pulled over in California but the officer doesn’t place you under arrest, then you have the right to refuse a field sobriety test. However, police might try to convince you to comply with their request for a field sobriety test so they can establish probable cause to arrest you for DUI. It is important to note that although police can use the information they obtain from field sobriety tests in court, the test is not an objective measure of legal intoxication.

If police suspect that a person is intoxicated behind the wheel but they pass the standard field sobriety tests, the officer has the option to arrest them anyway if they suspect the person is unfit to drive or poses a danger to others. Police also usually request the person take a roadside breathalyzer test if they pass the field sobriety test.

Although it might seem like there are no legal requirements to take field sobriety tests at the request of an officer, refusing to cooperate generally leads the officer to assume the person is trying to hide something. As a result, refusing a field sobriety test will likely end with the suspect being arrested.

Have you or someone you know been arrested for DUI or refusing to take a field sobriety test? If so, reach out to Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP immediately so our talented attorneys can get to work defending your rights. Call (800) 462-7160 today to request your consultation.