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Field sobriety test refusal may be beneficial in Illinois

| Dec 8, 2020 | Uncategorized |

We recently discussed how refusing a breathalyzer test during a DUI traffic stop will result in a yearlong license suspension in Illinois, but may still be worth it to possibly protect yourself from a DUI conviction. However, it is important to note that refusing a Breathalyzer is not your only option to protect yourself. You can also refuse to submit to field sobriety tests.

What is a field sobriety test?

The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) serves as another way for an officer to determine if you were driving under the influence. These are the three types of field sobriety tests typically administered by police officers during DUI traffic stops:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) – This test involves an officer moving an object from side-to-side in front of you to observe your eye movements. An impaired driver often has an involuntary jerking of the eye that prevents them from following the object smoothly.
  • Walk-and TurnThe officer will ask you to walk in a straight line by taking nine heel-to-toe steps, turn on one foot, and take nine heel-to-toe steps in a straight line back to the starting position. Impaired drivers are typically unable to successfully complete this task.
  • One-Leg Stand – The officer will ask the driver to stand with one foot 6 inches off the ground for 30 seconds. Impaired drivers may be unable to balance while standing still, and as a result, they may sway, hop around, or put their foot down.

Refusing a field sobriety test

Unlike refusing a breathalyzer, there is no license suspension or other direct consequence to refusing sobriety tests in Illinois. However, if you refuse field sobriety tests, you will likely get arrested for a DUI. But due to poor administration of the test and variety of other factors, it is likely that submitting to field sobriety tests will result in your arrest anyway. At least if you refuse the test, the prosecutor will have much less evidence available to prove to the judge or jury that you were driving under the influence. Without Breathalyzer results or field sobriety results, the prosecutor will be missing key evidence that would have benefited his or her case significantly.

If you have already submitted to a Breath test or field sobriety tests, there are still various defenses that can be used to help you win your case. A DUI defense attorney in your area can review your case and provide you with an effective defense strategy.