3 Facts You Need to Know in Order to Answer the Question: Can You Refuse a Field Sobriety Test?
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, drunk driving is taken very seriously. If found guilty of operating a vehicle under the influence (OUI), it can have both short-term and long-term consequences on your life and the ones you love. However, a common question even before an OUI arrest or interaction with law enforcement is: Can you refuse a field sobriety test?
If you or someone you love has been arrested for an OUI in Massachusetts, do not hesitate and call (508) 570-3037 immediately for a free consultation with one of our expert attorneys at Murphy & Rudolf, LLP. We have extensive experience handling OUI cases.
Know Your Rights as a Driver in Massachusetts
At Murphy & Rudolf, LLP we believe people living in the United States, and specifically in Massachusetts, should have a solid understanding of their rights. And when it comes to being stopped by law enforcement, there is a lot of misconception, especially when it comes to being suspected of driving drunk.
Since every state has different laws around OUIs or DUIs and sobriety tests, it’s important not to confuse other state laws with Massachusetts’ laws. Here are some facts you need to know about in order to properly answer the question: Can you refuse a field sobriety test?
A field sobriety test is not exclusively a breathalyzer test.
It’s important to note that a field sobriety test can be a variety of activities law enforcement may ask you to perform in the case you get pulled over while driving. This can include walk-and-turn or one-leg stands. If you are asked to perform a field sobriety test, it doesn’t inherently mean a breath or blood test.
If you are searching the internet for the answer to the questions, “Can you refuse a field sobriety test?” and you are specifically referring to the performance exams and not a breath test, then the answer is yes. But not so quick!
You are legally allowed to refuse a field sobriety test but you are not allowed to refuse to get out of the car.
If law enforcement lawfully pulls you over for reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence and asks you to get out of the car, you must oblige. However, legally you can refuse a field sobriety test. But again, not so quick! There’s another caveat.
Implied consent law in Massachusetts
Massachusetts law stipulates that if you legally operate a vehicle and are legally stopped within the state, you have already inherently consented to a breathalyzer test or a blood test. Refusing this test gives the officer the right to immediately seize your license and suspend it. This, however, can be contested in court.
Conclusion: Can You Refuse a Field Sobriety Test?
While legally speaking, you can refuse a field sobriety test, the answer is clearly more nuanced and can feel less clear when you are actually caught in the moment. Field sobriety tests have been argued to be designed to incriminate a perfectly sober driver and can often make your case harder to defend in court. It is important to remember that regardless of the situation, stay calm and be clear with law enforcement.
If you or someone you love has been arrested for an OUI, it is important to act quickly and hire legal representation as soon as possible. For a free consultation, call (508) 570-3037 to speak with one of Murphy & Rudolf’s experienced OUI attorneys.