Knowing your rights regarding DWI stops, including any right to refuse police tests and what could happen if you decide not to take them, is essential.
In New Mexico, you are not required to take a field sobriety test if you are pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence. The same does not apply to breath or blood tests.
What is a field sobriety test?
A field sobriety test (FST) is an objective, standardized way for police officers to evaluate whether a driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has developed three standardized FSTs – the walk-and-turn, one-leg stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN).
FSTs are not perfect, but they are reliable enough that police officers will often make arrest decisions based solely on the results of an FST.
You have the right to refuse to take a field sobriety test
However, the officer may then request that you perform a breathalyzer test. Because of New Mexico’s implied consent law, refusing to take a breathalyzer may result in an automatic license suspension. You should weigh the pros and cons before deciding.
If you get a DWI conviction, you will need to pay fines, court costs, receive treatment, and install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. It’s important to remember that even if a police officer does charge you with a DWI, you are innocent until proven guilty. Review your case with someone who can help prepare a defense and negotiate on your behalf.