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posted on 4/7/24

You are sitting at a bar, watching a March Madness game. And, while watching this game, you enjoy a few drinks.

Right after the game ends and the bar begins to close, you start to head home.

The drive is relatively quick and easy. But, before you can reach your home in Palatine, you see a police car.

Just moments after you see this police car, you hear its siren and, as a result, are forced to pull over.

The officer who speaks with you asks you to conduct a few field sobriety tests. And, you consent to these tests, the results of which lead to you receiving a DUI.

All of this begs the question: can you refuse a field sobriety test?

Going over the answer to that particular question and speaking with a Palatine DUI defense attorney will allow you to protect yourself.

What Is A Field Sobriety Test?

A field sobriety test is a roadside test that can be used to determine whether or not someone is impaired by alcohol or, for that matter, another substance.  These tests are given by officers who have gone to police school to learn how to administer these tests and have a booklet to read what can be a very confusing set of instructions that must be performed in a specific order. They then administer these tests to an individual doing this test who is hearing a long list of complex instructions for the first time in their lives and are expected to perform perfectly under sometimes challenging conditions.  If they fail as little as 2 clues on these tests, they are deemed to be impaired by the Officer and placed under arrest.  

Just as an example, if an officer suspects that someone is intoxicated and has a reasonable basis for this suspicion, they can pull that individual over and ask them to conduct a field sobriety test.

If the individual that they pull over fails a minority of the clues on that field sobriety test, then this is considered evidence that supports the officer’s suspicion that the individual was impaired.

Some of the most common field sobriety tests include standing on one leg and walking and turning, among various others.

On its own, a field sobriety test may not lead to a DUI charge. But the chemical tests that are likely to be conducted afterward will, in almost all cases, lead to a DUI Charge.

Can You Refuse A Field Sobriety Test During March Madness?

The answer to this question is “Yes.” But just because you can doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.

In the state of Illinois, if you are sitting behind a wheel, and driving, then this means you have given your implied consent to various forms of testing.  This does not mean that you must take these tests.  You have a right to refuse them.  Despite issues such as weather, wind, injuries or medical conditions, officers insist that people they have stopped participate in the field sobriety tests and almost never take these extraneous issues into account in making their determination.  

Given the above, if you refuse to take a field sobriety test, then you will be arrested. And, even though you haven’t received an Illinois DUI charge, due to the absence of testing, your license will be suspended for one year.

If you take a field sobriety and the officer deems that you have failed it, this will likely lead to a DUI charge, which comes with its own set of consequences.

The above is quite severe. But, if you work with an attorney, you can contest your arrest and suspension.

Regarding the above, if the officer did not have probable cause, then you can use this fact to contest your arrest. By doing so, you can protect your innocence and rescind the suspension of your driver’s license, due to the unlawful grounds that suspension was based on.

Other defenses can also be employed. But these are dependent on the exact facts of your case.

Get Qualified Legal Help Today

If you need representation for a DUI charge, Glasgow & Olsson is uniquely qualified to help you. 

Thomas Glasgow has lectured statewide on DUI practice and law for the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education.  He is recognized as an authority in this area of law, and in addition to lecturing, he also writes for the statewide DUI manual.  When you need an attorney, experience matters.

Speak with a Palatine DUI defense lawyer today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.