Skip to Content Top

Can I Be Charged with DUI If I Don’t Take Sobriety Tests?

driver handing police officer his ID during a traffic stop

In order for the police to make a DUI arrest, they must first establish probable cause. For DUI cases, this is most often done by collecting evidence from sobriety tests. So, if you refuse to participate in any sobriety tests, can you still be arrested?

Types of Sobriety Tests Used in Florida

There are multiple types of sobriety tests available. However, the most commonly used for DUI are breath tests and field sobriety tests. If the driver is suspected to be under the influence of drugs, they may be asked to take a blood or urine test as well.

Breath Test

The police will likely administer a roadside breathalyzer test during a DUI stop. This test will provide a reading of the driver’s blood alcohol concentration. The legal limit in Florida is 0.08%, however, a driver can technically be arrested and charged even if they are below that threshold.

During a breath test, the officer will direct the driver to blow into the handheld device for multiple seconds to provide a breath sample. Then, the device will show the measured blood alcohol concentration results. If the driver is over the legal limit, it is almost definite that they will be arrested.

Did you know, though, that there are numerous factors that can lead to inaccurate BAC results? The driver’s medical history, recent diet, and other factors can cause breath test results to be skewed. This is important to consider for your defense.

Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are the physical examinations that some drivers take during traffic stops. There are numerous types of tests the police officer may use to evaluate the driver’s coordination, ability to balance, and other factors that could be signs of impairment. If the driver appears to struggle with the tasks of the field sobriety test, the officer can fail them and use this as evidence of drug or alcohol impairment.

However, the use of these tests is highly controversial. This is because a driver’s ability to balance may have nothing to do with their sobriety, but instead be hindered by muscle fatigue from a long drive. There are numerous factors that could cause someone to fail a field sobriety test that is unrelated to drug or alcohol use.

Here’s what you need to know: You are not required by law to take field sobriety tests. You can and should turn down the request to participate in these tests. You may think that these tests will be easy to pass, then be shocked to find out that the officer found ways to fail you because you did not perform up to their standards. It’s best to avoid this sticky situation and avoid providing the police with evidence against you by not taking these tests to begin with.

Refusing to Participate in Any Sobriety Tests in Florida

If you do not take either of these tests, you can still be arrested for DUI in Florida. It is not required that the officers collect evidence from either of these tests before making an arrest. Instead, if they are able to establish probable cause in other ways, they can still arrest you.

Possible reasons for a DUI arrest include:

  • If the driver admits to drinking alcohol or using drugs
  • The smell of alcohol or drugs inside the vehicle
  • Bloodshot, glossy, dazed, or otherwise unusual eyes
  • Slurred speech

If the police see any of the above, they could make an arrest.

However, without DUI sobriety test evidence, it becomes much more difficult for prosecutors to build a case against you and obtain a conviction. If the prosecutors see that they will likely lose, they may drop the charges altogether to save time and resources for other cases.

DUI Defense in Jacksonville

Whether you did or did not participate in sobriety tests, there are still ways to defend against DUI charges. If you are facing DUI charges in Jacksonville, contact First Coast Criminal Defense today. Our criminal defense attorneys will review your case for free and help you determine the best course of action depending on the circumstances.