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Effective Criminal Defense Since 1998
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Do I have to agree to a field sobriety test?

It can be easy to misjudge how much you have to drink when you are out with your friends. You may feel like you are ok to drive, but then, on the way home, there are lights in your rearview mirror.

The time it takes the officer to get from their car to yours can feel like an eternity. During that time, you may be racking your brain with what you should do or say to help your situation.

Here’s what you should know about the rules regarding field sobriety tests in Wisconsin.

The test may not be as important as you think

In movies and TV shows, the moment someone stumbles through a standard “walk and turn” field sobriety test is a pivotal part of the drunk driving subplot. In reality, officers have most of the information they need to make an arrest before asking you to step out of the vehicle.

When an officer walks up to your car, they are watching for signs you have been drinking, such as:

  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Smell of alcohol
  • Talking too loud
  • Heavy sweating
  • Glossy eyes

Once an officer sees these symptoms, they are often looking to confirm what they already believe and further establish probable cause to make an arrest.

You can say no

You are not required to submit to field sobriety tests; however, refusing to take a field sobriety test does not mean the officer will not arrest you.

Also, having a driver’s license and driving on public roads makes you subject to Wisconsin’s implied consent laws. While the rule does not apply to field sobriety tests, it does apply to blood, breath and urine tests.

Facing OWI charges can get very serious. It is essential to have an experienced professional to support you and your case.