Welcome to our new Ask Grant segment, where we feature frequently asked questions from our clients. This segment is meant to help and educate you if you have a similar type of question but is not meant to be legal advice. Remember if you ever need immediate legal help, contact your attorney. This question is on refusing a sobriety test.
Q: What Happens if I Refuse to Take a Sobriety Test?
Getting pulled over for suspicion of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) can be pretty scary. Even someone who has only had one drink with dinner or has limited themselves to diet soda all evening is likely going to get very nervous when questioned closely and blinded by a mag light. If you are pulled over in New Mexico, several types of tests may be requested, and your consent or refusal to take these tests could affect the outcome of your case.
Field Sobriety Tests
Contrary to what most people believe, field sobriety tests are not mandatory in New Mexico. Don’t expect the officer to advise you of this as it doesn’t always happen. It’s a fact that you don’t have to take a field sobriety test or answer any questions. Many of these tests are very difficult to pass for people who haven’t been drinking. Your best option is to politely refuse the field sobriety test. Don’t answer any questions as your responses and demeanor can, and will, be used against you later on. Remember to always call your attorney!
Breath and Blood Tests
If you refuse to take the field sobriety tests, which you should, you can be sure that there will be a demand for you to take a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). You may be asked to take either a breathalyzer or a blood test, officer’s choice, within three hours of the last time that you drove. While it is still recommended that you refuse all tests and call your attorney as soon as possible, there are potential consequences for refusing this type of test that you should be aware of.
As New Mexico is an “implied consent” state, the state assumes that you agree to a chemical test when pulled over for suspicion of DUI. If you refuse to take a mandatory test, your license will be suspended immediately for one year, and you will have a presumption of a .08 BAC. At the time of your refusal, you should be given a twenty-day temporary permit and information on how to request a hearing.
Getting Help With A DUI
While refusing any type of sobriety test may sound like a grim outcome, this isn’t always the case. A competent DUI defense attorney can help you challenge some of these charges and may be able to help with a suspension. Field sobriety tests are challenging, and don’t provide precise readings of intoxication. In nearly all cases, refusing to answer questions and perform tests will increase the chances of your case getting dismissed. Unless absolutely certain that you haven’t broken any laws, the best course of action is to stay silent, refuse all tests, and call your attorney.
If you have any additional questions or desire more information contact or call us at 505.235.6777.
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