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Do I have to take a sobriety test?

You’re driving down Route 16 on your way home from a work happy hour when you notice a police car tailing you. It’s not a great feeling. As you keep your speed steady and eyes on the road, you see the police lights flashing in your rearview mirror. Your nervousness turns into dread. You pull over to the side of the road and prepare all necessary documentation.

But what you expect to be a routine process quickly turns into one of suspicion. As the officer continues to question you, all signs point to the fact that he believes you may be intoxicated. While you may have been out at a happy hour and had one drink several hours ago, panic still sets in. Deep inside you know you are sober and feel almost insulted that the police officer has asked you to perform a sobriety test. At this point you may ask yourself, “Do I have to take a sobriety test just because a police officer is demanding it?”

The simple answer is no, you don’t. But the true answer is a lot more complicated than that because refusing to take the test comes with consequences.

The types of tests that you may be offered include a breathalyzer, urine test, blood test, or a variety of different balance tests. Although you do have the right to refuse taking one of these tests, you have technically given police officers implied consent when you got a New Hampshire driver’s license. Basically this means that by accepting the driver’s license, you are also agreeing to take sobriety tests.

If you do happen to refuse the tests, which in some cases may be the appropriate action to take, you will automatically end up losing your driver’s license for 180 days. Because of this harsh consequence, it’s wise to consult with an attorney before you decide to refuse a sobriety test.

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