What to do if you are pulled over and the officer begins evaluating you for being under the influence

If you are pulled over for suspected Driving Under the Influence or stopped at a checkpoint, it may be wise to refuse to do the field sobriety tests, including the on-scene preliminary breath test. Some of these tests are not admissible in a trial anyway. The officer likely suspects you are intoxicated and these tests are a means of gathering concrete evidence, beyond the officer’s other observations, that you are intoxicated. Do comply with the officer’s request that you provide your information and that you step out of the car. Be aware that the officer’s body camera and patrol car camera are probably recording the interaction, and if you are stumbling about as you get out of the car and stand there, that may be used against you. If you choose to not comply, then do not make any additional statements to the police, aside from the fact that you need an attorney. Anything you say can and will be used against you. Alternatively, if you believe you can complete the tests successfully, you may do so and then perhaps be released. In either case, be courteous. If you refuse the tests you will likely be taken to the jail and be presented with a breath alcohol test, (or have the choice of doing a blood draw), which may have the benefit of increasing the time that passes until the test can be done, which may result in your blood alcohol level dropping below the legal limit of .08. You will likely need to specifically request the blood draw if you want it instead of the breath test, as they may not present you with the blood draw option. If you refuse to have either your breath or blood tested for alcohol, then under the law it be comes much easier to convict you of driving under the influence at a jury trial in Kansas, and your license will automatically be suspended for at least a year. Besides, if the testing machine has not been calibrated and operated correctly, that may win the case for you. If you refused the field sobriety tests, they will have to rely on the blood alcohol test, the officer’s observations, and the patrol car and body camera videos (your driving, your body language, any odor of alcohol, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, alcohol bottles or cans visible in your car, and if they do a proper inventory search of your vehicle, anything found in it). In addition to the criminal proceeding, a civil proceeding to suspend your license will begin. You’ll be notified of a hearing date for that. The above is not to be considered legal advice. Consult an attorney for legal advice.