Do I have to submit to the sobriety tests at the time of arrest?

There are numerous “Field Sobriety Tests” which will you will be asked to perform upon being suspected of DUI. They are basically sub-divided into two areas: 1) Field Sobriety Tests and 2) Breathalyzer or Blood tests.  Believe it or not, you have an absolute right to refuse every single one of them, and may choose to do just that!   Listed below are the tests you may encounter, and the ramifications/consequences of refusal to submit.


1) Portable Breath Test (PBT):

This is a small device which the officer will ask you to blow in at the time you are you are pulled over.  Your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) will then appear on this device if you choose to blow into it. These devices have been shown to be unreliable.  For this reason you should refuse to ever submit to a PBT.

Consequences of refusal:

NONE.  Because of their unreliability, PBT results are inadmissible as evidence in a DUI trial.  They can be admitted as evidence in certain pre-trial proceedings however.  For this reason, you should ALWAYS refuse to submit to them.

2) Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test (HGN):

This is one of the most common Field Sobriety Tests.  The Officer will ask you to follow some object in his or her hand with your eyes.  Basically you are asked to watch the object while keeping your eyes perfectly still.  If you are intoxicated, your eyes will show nystagmus (shaking) while your gaze is held at a 45 degree angle.

HGN results have also been shown to be extremely unreliable.  For a long time, these were also inadmissible as evidence in Illinois.  The reason is that there are numerous other LEGAL reasons why Nystagmus may occur.  Among them are: Stress, over the counter cold medications, anti-biotics, genetic history, certain types of employment, and exhaustion.

Consequences of refusal:


Because of their unreliability, these tests were not admissible for a long time.  There are no legal consequences for refusing to submit. .  For this reason, you should ALWAYS refuse to submit to HGN tests.

3) One Leg Stand (OLS):

This is another test that you will be asked to perform at the time you are stopped.  The officer will ask you to stand in place with your arms at your side.  You will then be asked to raise one leg in front of you while keeping your knee unbent for 30 seconds.  You will also be asked not to use your arms for balance, or to move your head.

These tests are also unreliable for countless reasons. Even if you are intoxicated this will be difficult to do.  There are also countless innocent reasons why someone may fail this type of test.  Among them: Fatigue, prior or current injury, being overweight or just plain bad balance.

Consequences of refusal:


There are no legal consequences for refusing to submit.   For this reason, you should ALWAYS refuse to submit to OLS tests.