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What Happens if I Refuse to Take a Field Sobriety Test?

When you get pulled over by the police because they suspect that you are driving under the influence, it is of the utmost importance that you follow instructions and do what they say. However, if you are asked to take a field sobriety test you do not have to comply. These tests are voluntary in Iowa, but some other types of tests are not. Whether you comply with the officer’s order or not, you may find yourself facing charges. A Des Moines OWI lawyer from our firm can help you fight them.

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What is a Field Sobriety Test?

A field sobriety test is a series of assessments that officers will subject drivers to if they suspect them of driving under the influence. They could ask a driver to stand on one leg while counting to 10. They could also ask a motorist to walk in a straight line, heel-to-toe. These are easy tasks for most of us, but someone who consumes too much alcohol may lack the coordination to complete them. This is exactly why the officer is asking them to attempt these actions.

What Are the Penalties for Refusing a Field Sobriety Test?

You can refuse a field sobriety test in the state of Iowa for whatever reason you choose. There is no penalty for not taking these tests at the cop’s behest. You may not be so lucky when it comes to their follow-up plans though.

Why Do I Have to Submit to a Breathalyzer Test?

Drivers who refuse a field sobriety test may have to submit to a chemical test instead. This can be a blood test that measures alcohol concentration in a driver’s blood sample, but the most common way of administering a chemical test probably involves a breathalyzer. This is due to “implied consent” laws. If you are driving on Iowa roads, you have already consented to chemical BAC testing. This is just how things work.

You breathe into this device and a reading of your BAC comes out. If your reading is high enough, you will be charged with an OWI. You must cooperate with this test. Those who do not can have their licenses suspended for years, especially if this is not their first time refusing to take a chemical test. Just refusing this test once could result in your license being suspended for a year.

How Can an Attorney Help?

Your attorney can communicate on your behalf so that you do not have to worry about saying the wrong things to insurance companies or lawyers. Your attorney can also help you find the defensive strategy that will work best for you. They can question the stop, get evidence against you thrown out, and even petition the court to have any charges dropped.

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You do not have to face OWI charges all on your own. Contact Herting Law, PLLC and learn more about how we can help you fight for the best possible outcome and get back to your normal life.

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