If I'm pulled over for DUI in Kansas should I just refuse everything?
This is easily the question I am asked most often, and the truth is there is no exact answer. The answer is that it depends. I will try to give you a run down of the best way to navigate through these murky waters.
If you are pulled over, and the officer suspects you are DUI, there are many different types of tests that they will likely ask you to take. This is why the answer to whether you should refuse everything is it depends.
The first types of tests they will ask you to take are known as Field Sobriety Tests. For example the officer might have you walk a line, or stand on one leg. These tests I generally recommend people refuse, they are not mandatory, and can only give the officer extra evidence against you, they cannot help you. There are numerous things that can affect a someone's performance on these tests: weather conditions, inadequate lighting, police lights, slanted road, physical injuries, and even footwear. (See our previous blog post "Why to Refuse the Field Sobriety Tests if you are pulled over for a DUI in Kansas." )
The next test they will likely ask you to perform is known as a PBT (Preliminary Breath Test), it is a small handheld device that tries to estimate if you are over .08 BAC (Blood Alcohol Content). The PBT is generally administered after Field Sobriety Testing at the car, if you fail they will place you under arrest. The PBT results are not generally admissible in court during a DUI trial as the PBT instruments are not that scientifically reliable, but it is just another tool the officer uses to get probable cause against you, and place you under arrest. This test is also not mandatory in Kansas, however if you do refuse it you can be ticketed with a fine around $150.00. I also generally recommend people refuse this test as well, again why give them extra evidence against you if you don't have to!
If they do place you under arrest then you are likely heading to the station to take the "Real" breath test on the Intoxilyzer 8000. The Intoxilyzer 8000 breath test is admissible in Court, and is usually the main evidence against you. This test does have consequences if you refuse (Increased DL suspension, Potential Criminal Charges). I would generally not advise someone to refuse this test. (See our previous blog post "The New Kansas DUI Refusal Law".)
SUMMARY: The answer to "Should I just refuse everything?" is not necessarily. Field Sobriety Tests = Probably Refuse, Preliminary Breath Test = Probably Refuse, Intoxilyzer 8000 = Probably Don't Refuse (Bad consequences for Refusal.) Most people fear that if they don't do everything the officer asks they will be arrested or the consequences will be worse. What I would say to that is if the officer smells alcohol, and has asked you to do Field Sobriety Tests in the first place, it's likely he has already made up his mind to arrest you, so why give them extra evidence to use against you. The sad truth is that DUI cases generate a lot of money for cities, and the officers get awards, etc. for handing them out. The best way to avoid this situation at all is to not drink and drive, but sometime's people make mistakes, and it's always better to be informed of your rights.