You can certainly decline. It’s going to make the officers job a little bit tougher. If they feel they have probable cause to take the steps needed to procure a scientific test, like a blood search warrant, then they can go through those processes. But there is nothing to lose by asking that the police do their job. It’s not asking. You demand that the police do their job. You have a right not to cooperate under these particular circumstances. If you choose not to cooperate, that’s your right.
You don’t have to feel guilty or ashamed. Especially if an officer enters into a line of dialogue where he or she makes you feel that you’re doing something wrong by not cooperating. You need to be strong enough, and keep your civic rights in mind and your rights under the Constitution and say, “I’m simply not going to cooperate with this investigation. That’s my right.” Then force the officer to do their job of procuring a particular search warrant if they feel they have probably cause or the adequate burden of proof to secure that search warrant. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Does that include declining to do the field sobriety test or the breathalyzer?
I’ve watched many field sobriety test videos while representing clients over the years. It’s not 100% of the time, but 97% of the time, here’s what the officer says. The Officer says, “I’m going to need you to do these tests. Step over here because I’m going to have you do some tests for me.” It’s very settling and can throw people off guard.
For the general public under that circumstance, it translates to, “you must do these tests.” That’s just not so. He is simply asking you to cooperate with the investigation. But many clients, when I ask why did they perform these tests, will say, “Well, he told me to do them. I had to do them.”
No, you don’t. That is merely the Officer more formally stating, “Would you cooperate?” or, “I’m gonna ask you to cooperate and do some tests for me.” Those are all requests to cooperate with his investigation and you can say, “Well I choose not to cooperate with the investigation.” Then stand tight on that. It may yield an arrest for DWI. However, it may help your lawyer later on down the road to better defend you for a DWI allegation. You have to make a decision based on your circumstances and how you feel as to whether or not you’re going to cooperate with the investigation.
I have had clients that have been in a poor mental or emotional circumstance, where they said, “I was not intoxicated.” They chose to fully cooperate with the officers and were not arrested. That’s usually the exception for the rule.
Depending on your circumstances, my general advice is:
- Review practically what you have gone through prior to the stop
- Review your interaction with the officer
- Make a decision to cooperate or not
If you feel that you are in danger of arrest for DWI, I would say to not cooperate. That’s not being an irresponsible citizen. It’s not being an evil person; non-cooperative, anti-police officer, or anti-law enforcement. That’s exercising your rights as granted to you under the Constitution of the United States. Regardless how an officer may try to shame you, or make you feel guilty, there is nothing wrong with exercising your constitutional rights.
Contact a DWI Defense Attorney
If you are facing potential charges for driving while intoxicated call an experienced DWI defense lawyer. If you are under some type of a criminal investigation call an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact Steve Keathley at the Keathley and Keathley Law Firm in Corsicana, Texas at (903) 417-0889.