Should I Take a Field Sobriety Test?


Seeing the flashing red and blue lights in your rear view mirror means you have to pull over for the highway patrol officer, but what else does the law require you to do? Cooperating with law enforcement is always encouraged, no matter what situation you are in, but is there a point where your responsiveness starts to work against you?

When you are pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), the police officer is immediately looking for evidence to use against you in the court of law. Anything and everything that can point towards your intoxication, and therefore your criminal act, is going to be noted and recorded. Some of the most ample sources of incriminating evidence are field sobriety tests (FST), like requiring the driver to stand on one leg for a minute or walk a straight line without swaying. Failing an FST makes the motorist look drunk, even if they are completely sober, and law enforcement officials know this. So what can you do to avoid working against yourself when you're curbside?

Refusing Field Sobriety Tests

One of the biggest secrets in the criminal justice and DUI world is that you do have the right to refuse to take any and all field sobriety tests requested by the officer. FSTs are in no way mandatory under Colorado State law, and there is no immediate punishment for refusal. Since the officer was probably going to find a way to say you failed the curbside tests no matter what, you may as well hand them as little evidence to use against you as possible and not take them. The most they can do is tell you that they want to take you back to the station for chemical testing.

If you are told to submit to chemical testing – blood, breath, or urine analysis – you should not refuse. Colorado uses an "implied consent" law that states that by getting into your car and driving on a public road, you are willing to submit to chemical blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level testing. And that if you do not, your license can be suspended for months or a year.

In summation, you can and probably should refuse field sobriety tests, but you should not refuse chemical testing. If you have more questions about your rights as a driver in Colorado, or if you need defense against a DUI charge, Castle & Castle, P.C. is here to help. Our Denver DUI attorneys have nearly 65 years of combined legal and trial experience to put to good use for your defense. Call 303.800.3273 today for more information.

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