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The DUI Stop: Should You Submit To Breath And Field Sobriety Tests?


Being pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving is an extremely frightening and jarring experience. Many questions may arise in the mind of the driver:

  • What should I say?
  • Why did they pull me over?
  • Do I have to take a breath test if they ask?
  • Should I do field sobriety tests if they ask me to?

It's hard to think clearly when under the intense pressure and scrutiny of the police during a DUI stop. But there are a few things you should keep in mind if you find yourself in this position.

The Breathalyzer Test

What happens if a police officer asks you to take a Breathalyzer test during a DUI stop?

The first thing you need to know: You are not required to submit to a preliminary breath test on a portable breathalyzer machine during your traffic stop.

However, if you are arrested and taken into custody, you must submit to the official breath test that is administered at the police station. If you refuse this breath test, you face automatic suspension of your driver's license for a period of six months. You can still be charged with DUI if you refuse this test.

Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are often administered during a DUI traffic stop. But are they reliable?

These tests can be difficult to perform under pressure - even when someone is sober. Weather conditions, darkness, nervousness, and many other factors can affect an individual's ability to perform field sobriety tests.

The "results" of field sobriety tests are highly subjective and do not indicate an individual's level of intoxication.

Common field sobriety tests include:

  • One-legged stand
  • Walk-and-turn
  • Reciting the alphabet backwards

Remember: You are not required to submit to field sobriety tests. You can decline.

Next Steps

If you are charged with DUI, you have legal options. It is important to act quickly and speak to a DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible following your arrest. The earlier contact an attorney, there more options that may be available in your case.

Call 864-991-3379 to reach attorney Ryan L. Beasley in Greenville, South Carolina.

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Over my career, I have earned a number of honors reflecting my professionalism and commitment to my clients. These awards include:

    • 10 best 2016 client satisfaction American institute of personal injury attorneys
    • 10 best 2016 client satisfaction American institute of criminal law attorneys
    • Martindale-Hubbell | Distinguished | Peer Rated for High Professional Achievement | 2019
    • National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys
    • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers
    • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 40 Under 40
    • Nationally Ranked Superior DUI Attorney By the nafdd | 2013
    • Top Young Attorneys | 2014 | Rising Stars selected by Peer Recognition and Professional Achievement
    • Rated By Super Lawyers | Rising Stars | Ryan L. Beasley | SuperLawyers.com
    • America's Most Honored Professionals | Ryan L. Beasley
    • Martindale-Hubbell | Client Champion | Gold / 2019
    • Expertise | Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Greenville
    • 2015 Legal Elite of the Upstate | Greenville's Top Attorneys
    • Legal Elite of the Upstate
    • Legal Elite of the Upstate 2013-2018
    • Client Distinction Award | Ryan L. Beasley, Esq.
    • Client Champion 2019 | Ryan L. Beasley | Gold
    • Highest Possible Rating in Both Legal Ability & Ethical Standards | Ryan L. Beasley, Esq.

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