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Is it true that you can refuse a sobriety test?

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2023 | DUI/DWI

As a college student, you should be aware that your actions outside of college could jeopardize your education. A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) might result in you being unable to finish your course.

Swerving between lanes, running a red light or driving at night without using your lights could all give the police a reason to pull you over. They might then ask you to take a sobriety test. Do you have to comply? 

It’s commonly believed that drivers can refuse to take a sobriety test without repercussions. However, it’s not as simple as that. 

When can you refuse a standardized field sobriety test? 

One commonly used form of sobriety test is a standardized field sobriety test (SFST). They are a physical evaluation that can signal to officers that a driver isn’t in full control of their motor function and, thus, should not be driving. The three most common ones are: 

  • A horizontal gaze nystagmus test can check a driver’s ability to focus with their eyes.
  • A walk-and-turn test may demonstrate a driver’s ability to follow instructions.
  • A one-legged stand test can show how well a driver can keep their balance. 

Drivers have the right to refuse SFSTs at any time in Colorado without incurring penalties. 

When can you refuse a chemical test?

A breath test evaluates a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). Under implied consent laws operating in Colorado, drivers may face consequences if they refuse one after a lawful arrest. 

A traffic stop can still lead to criminal charges, even if you pass a police test, so it’s wise to take legal guidance whenever facing DUI charges. Clearing your name is the best way to ensure a police stop does not harm your college education.