When you are pulled over by the police for suspected drunk driving, one of the actions an officer may take is asking you to perform a field sobriety test (e.g. one-leg stand, walk-and-turn, and/or horizontal gaze nystagmus). These tests are designed to help an officer observe your demeanor, speech, movement, and any odor or smell of alcohol.
But what happens if you refuse? Although the New York implied consent laws apply to post-arrest chemical tests, drivers in the state will not face penalties for refusing to perform a field sobriety test.
However, refusing a field sobriety test can be used against you in other ways. For example, your refusal can be used as evidence to show that you were attempting to hide your intoxication.
On the other hand, if you decide to take a field sobriety test, remember that these tests are highly subjective. The main purpose of the test is to gather evidence against you to further establish probable cause and make an arrest. So, even if you refuse to take a test, the police may still arrest you based on other factors to establish probable cause.
If you or a loved one has been arrested in New York, let our legal team at Collins Gann McCloskey & Barry PLLC defend you against serious charges. There are certain procedures law enforcement officials must follow when administering these tests, such as ensuring the test is performed on an even surface and the driver’s health conditions are taken into consideration. If the police failed to administer the field sobriety test properly, we may be able to get the results suppressed in court.