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What happens if police ask me to submit to a DUI/DWI field test?

Posted By: On behalf of J. Kevin Stockstill, Attorney At Law // On:

If you are stopped by police under suspicion of drunk driving, there is a thorough process that you will be asked to undergo. Whether or not to submit to a breath test and/or field sobriety tests is a decision you’ll have to make for yourself on the spot. However, I can explain the entire process to you here and let you know what the consequences will be if you find yourself in this situation.

If you have consumed alcohol, the officer will likely notice your bloodshot, watery eyes, the smell of alcohol and slurred speech. This gives him reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, which opens the door to further investigation – but not probable cause to arrest.

If you have indeed been drinking – and are possibly close to or over that magic 0.08 figure – and you blow into the PBT, you’ve just given the police officer the probable cause he needs to arrest you! He doesn't need anything else – even if you refuse the field sobriety tests, he now has the lawful right to arrest you on the spot.

The fact is that these tests are designed to fail you. That’s the reality – and don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise. However, if you refuse to submit to breath, blood or urine tests, the consequences are as follows.

1) The refusal may be used against you in court as evidence of violating the DUI statute (KRS 189A.010).


2) Your driver’s license will be suspended until the resolution of your case.


3) If you refuse the tests and are subsequently convicted of DUI, you will be subjected to a mandatory minimum jail sentence that is twice as long as the mandatory minimum jail sentence imposed if you submit to the tests (which is four days instead of two for a first offense).


4) You will be unable to obtain a hardship license after the 30-day mandatory suspension period elapses (for first offense DUI).

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