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Can I Refuse the Field Sobriety Tests in PA?

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One may refuse the FST's in PA.  However, the prosecutor may use this refusal to show a consciousness of guilt.  There is no right to refuse the tests.

The Pennsylvania Constitution does not provide a "right" to refuse a field sobriety test; accordingly, there is no concomitant right to be informed thereof.   It is not protected by the Miranda rights or right against self-incrimination.  One may refuse the tests.  On issue of self-incrimination, the Courts in PA have held:

Field sobriety tests are neither testimonial in nature nor do they extract or communicate protected knowledge or thoughts. Field sobriety tests merely require a driver to exhibit his or her physical coordination. The policy which supports the privilege against self-incrimination-governmental respect for the dignity and integrity of its citizens-is not offended by this holding. The intoxicated driver subjected to field sobriety tests does not have extracted from his or her lips an unwilling confession; he or she is not subjected to compulsory oral examination.

Typically, in a prosecution for driving under the influence of alcohol, the commonwealth will seek to introduce evidence regarding three field sobriety tests conducted on the defendant (one leg stand, finger to nose and walking in a straight line).  These tests are not scientifically reliable.  Therefore, they cannot be introduced to show a particular Blood Alcohol Level.  Rather, they are grounded in theories which link an individual's lack of coordination and loss of concentration with intoxication and such interrelationship to the understanding of normal people.

If you have been arrested for a Driving Under the Influence and subjected to Field Sobriety Tests ("FST's), contact an experienced DUI attorney to deal with your case.  You may call Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC toll free or email us today.

 

 

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