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Can You Be Charged with a DUI if the Arresting Officer Failed to Issue a Sobriety Test?

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Can You Be Charged with a DUI if the Arresting Officer Failed to Issue a Sobriety Test?


The stereotypical image of a DUI arrest almost always involves the driver taking a sobriety test and blowing into a breathalyzer. In the state of Nevada, the refusal to submit to a sobriety test can lead to harsher legal consequences, including license revocation. Police can even draw blood to test for sobriety without consent, if they have a warrant. But what are the legal ramifications if the arresting officer forgets or otherwise fails to test the sobriety of a DUI suspect? Can you still be charged with a DUI if there is no biological evidence that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

A sobriety test is not required to arrest someone for a DUI. In most states, probable cause is legally enough evidence to complete a DUI arrest. This can include open containers in the car, the smell of alcohol or drugs, and/or the driver’s appearance and behavior exhibiting that of someone under the influence.

The absence of a sobriety test, while it doesn’t necessarily affect the arresting process, can make charging and sentencing a little more complicated. In the worst of these cases, the litigation can proceed as a “he said, she said” situation in which the “evidence” relies only on the accounts of the driver and the arresting officer, and possibly the driver’s appearance in the mugshot.

Regardless of the proof of driving under the influence that a sobriety test provides, defendants can easily face reckless driving charges or other traffic violations in relation to the arrest, and without biological evidence.

The negligence of the police can work in the favor of those arrested with a DUI if a sobriety test was not issued. The absence of test results can alter the perception of the arrest as baseless in court, and the failure of the arresting officer to issue a sobriety test can negate any other claims relating to the case. Basically, a DUI case with no test is more difficult to prove true, and the perception of an arresting officer as negligent can work in the driver’s favor.

Contact Our Experienced Reno DUI Lawyer

A DUI arrest without the evidence provided by a sobriety test, while legal, can impair the case of the prosecution. Without biological evidence to demonstrate the proof of the influence of alcohol or drugs while the defendant was driving, there is minimal basis for the accusation of a DUI.

Attorney Ken Stover has over 20 years of legal experience with over 16 years in criminal defense, and a background in teaching DUI law to other lawyers, police, and judges.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, please call the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Stover at (775) 502-1575 or contact us online.

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