YOUR RIGHTS when asked to take a BREATH TEST

police conducting sobriety test

I just got pulled over and I think I might be over the legal limit, what do I do?

Louisiana has strict laws regarding driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI). In this instance, it is important to know your legal rights.

When stopped by a police officer always remember these three things:

  1. STOP in a well-lit area completely off the road;
  2. DON’T answer unnecessary, incriminating questions by the officer OR make suspicious, sudden movements;
  3. COOPERATE and be polite with law enforcement.

These tips could save you from putting yourself or your loved ones in jeopardy of:

  • Steep Fines
  • Community Service
  • Greater Insurance Premiums
  • License Suspension
  • …and even JAIL TIME

What you need to know

Implied Consent

When driving on a Louisiana road or highway, understand that the law dictates that you have given “implied consent” meaning that any person operating a vehicle can be required to take a Breath Test if an officer suspects that you might be driving under the influence.

THIS MEANS that if you refuse a sobriety test, you will be arrested.

So which tests did I consent to?

Field Sobriety Test

If an officer asks you to partake in a field sobriety test (FST), you should most often refuse respectfully. Widely known FSTs include activities like walking in a straight line or saying the alphabet backward. Tests like these are designed to be unreliable, though officers will likely record video of you while taking an FST which can be incriminating in court.

Portable Breathalyzers

Officers will likely ask you to blow into a standard-issue Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) Test also known as the handheld/portable breathalyzer. Though useful, these tests can have results vary as much as 15%. There are several instances in the state of Louisiana where these tests have been found to be unreliable and inaccurate.

IF YOU BELIEVE that you will be under the legal limit in a reasonable and short period of time, you should politely request that an officer bring you to the police station to take a breathalyzer test.

Refusing a Breath Test

Refusing a breath test entirely will result in an arrest. You will likely face fines and license suspension should you refuse a Breath Test.

IF YOU HAVE NO OTHER OPTION, it may be in your best interest to refuse a Breath Test. A breath test will give the police officer damaging and definitive evidence that you were driving drunk.

Always Remember

Your Fifth Amendment Right to remain silent – don’t answer any questions to the police officer that would lead them to suspect that you are breaking the law.

You can refuse a Field Sobriety Test – these tests are unreliable and can be incriminating if the officer is recording video of you.

Always Cooperate with police and other law enforcement – by cooperating in giving the proper documentation and being polite with the officer you can lessen the possibility of trouble.

At The Scott Law Firm, we are here to help if you have been charged or arrested with a DUI or DWI charge. We specialize in the department of Criminal Defense and are willing to give you professional advice on such legal matters. These charges are serious and can result in undesirable outcomes.

Let us help you by calling or texting us at 225.400.9976 or email us at We look forward to hearing from you soon!