What Happens If I Fail a Field Sobriety Test?

The state of California employs several different tests to determine if drivers who are suspected of driving under the influence should be arrested for DUI. California law does not require you to submit to any of these tests, and we recommend politely refusing them. However, if you decide to take the tests and fail, there are several things you can expect to happen next.

You May Be Arrested

If you are being asked to take a field sobriety test, the officer who stopped you already suspects that you are driving under the influence. If you fail a test, you will probably be arrested for DUI. In some cases, the officer may ask you to take a roadside breathalyzer. You can refuse this test unless you are under the age of 21 or on DUI probation. There is no legal benefit for you to submit to this test, so we suggest refusing it if you are legally entitled to do so.

You May Be Charged With DUI

If you are arrested after failing a field sobriety test, you will be taken to a police station, hospital or jail for a breath or blood test to measure your blood alcohol level. If a breath test is done, the results will be immediate. You may have to wait a few days to get the results of a blood test.

If your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher, you will be charged with driving with a BAC of .08 or higher. If you refuse these tests, a refusal allegation will be added to your charges. This charge comes with an additional one-year suspension of your driver’s license and two days in county jail, even if you are not convicted of the other charges.

After your tests are complete, you will usually be booked and then released. Depending on your criminal history and the severity of your case, you will either be released on bail or a written promise to appear in court.

The police will then file a report. The prosecutor will review your case and decide whether or not to formally charge you with DUI.

Your License May Be Suspended

If you are arrested for DUI, the officer will confiscate your driver’s license and provide you with a temporary one that is valid until the suspension takes effect. Your license will be suspended for 30 days at this point.

You May Face the DUI Court Process

If you were charged with DUI by the prosecutor, the court process will begin with an arraignment. At this stage, the prosecutor will offer you the chance to plead guilty and accept the specified sentence. An experienced DUI attorney can be a great asset when it comes to negotiating with the prosecutor pre-trial in an attempt to secure lesser charges or lighter sentences.

If you have been arrested due to a failed field sobriety test, the team at Chambers Law Firm can help you navigate the court process. Call us at 714-760-4088 or contact us online for a free review of your case.

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