Can police prove a DUI without a chemical sobriety test?

May 2, 2023, 9:00 PM

field sobriety test...

Trooper Jared Garcia conducts a field sobriety test on a man in Murray Friday December 19, 2003. Photo by Jeremy Harmon (Submission date: 12/20/2003)

(Submission date: 12/20/2003)

SALT LAKE CITY — A 25-year-old woman charged with driving while under the influence and hitting and killing a bride on her wedding night, declined to take a chemical sobriety test after the accident.

This tragedy has left some people wondering how it is possible to decline a chemical sobriety test. KSL Legal Analyst Greg Skordas joins Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News to answer some questions.

To begin the conversation, Skordas tells host Jeff Caplan that it is legal to decline a chemical sobriety test.

“You can (decline), Jeff, you can in Utah and you, apparently, can in most other states,” he says. “Because a person has a right not to incriminate themselves.”

Skordas continues, saying the consequences of declining a chemical sobriety test after a DUI arrest are big. In Utah, he says, if a driver declines a sobriety test they will lose their license for 18 months.

“Even if they beat the DUI,” Skordas says. “… Even if they’re not drunk.”

No chemical test? No problem

If there is no chemical sobriety test, there is no blood alcohol level numbers in court. Can police still prove a driver was intoxicated? According to Skordas, yes.

“In fact, the police will normally do what they call field sobriety tests where they’ll have the person walk the line or hold their foot up six inches or have their eyes checked for what we call nystagmus, which is a twitching in the pupils,” he says. “Those are also signs of impairment.”

According to Skordas, the breath test or blood test are not necessary to prove a DUI.

“The law is are you under the influence. Not necessarily, are you over 0.5 or 0.8 or whatever the particular state requires,” he says.

If the police can show impairment, Skordas says, they can move forward with charges without a chemical test.

“We see those … all the time where people refuse to test,” he says. They just don’t realize the consequences are so huge.”

Listen to the full segment below.


Listen to Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News on weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m.

Related: A bride killed on her wedding night in South Carolina had Utah ties

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Crime, Police + Courts

eight-year-old falls from second-story window in Eagle Mountain...

Derrick Jones

Eight-year-old falls from second-story window in Eagle Mountain

eight-year-old falls from second-story window in Eagle Mountain

11 hours ago

A customer who threw a burrito bowl in a Chipotle worker's face in September has been sentenced to ...

Chris Isidore, CNN

Woman who threw bowl of food at Chipotle worker sentenced to work 2 months in fast food job

A New York woman who assaulted a Chipotle worker was sentenced to work two months in a fast food restaurant.

20 hours ago

Parents anxiously wait outside UNLV shooting scene....

John Miller, Elizabeth Wolfe, Taylor Romine and Evan Perez, CNN

UNLV gunman was a career professor who had applied for a job at the school

The shooting began shortly before noon on the fourth floor of the university’s Beam Hall business school building at UNLV.

24 hours ago

Shonie Christensen, domestic violence advocate and survivor, hugs Lindsey Boyer,...

Don Brinkerhoff

Service for domestic violence survivors expanding in Tooele

South Valley Services in Tooele has seen a spike in the need for services for survivors of domestic violence.

2 days ago

Police are responding to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. (KVVU)...

Cheri Mossburg, Sara Smart and Taylor Romine

At least 3 dead including the suspect after shooting on University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus

Las Vegas Metro Sheriff Kevin McMahill said officials know the identity of the suspect, but won't releasing his name until his family has been notified.

2 days ago

Gabby Petito's Parents allege that the parents of Brian Laundrie were aware that their son had kill...

Aimee Cobabe

Petito family alleges Brian Laundrie’s lawyer, parents knew of Gabby Petito’s death

The parents of Gabby Petito allege Brian Laundrie told his parents weeks before Gabby went missing that she was “gone.”

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Human hand holding a protest banner stop vaping message over a crowded street background....

Prosperous Utah Communities

Utah’s Battle to Protect Youth from Vaping Epidemic Faces New Threat as Proposed Rule Threatens Progress

Utah's strict standards of nicotine levels in vaping products are at risk, increasing health hazards associated with use. Read more about how you can advocate for a better future for Utah's youth.

Can police prove a DUI without a chemical sobriety test?