Do I Have to Take a Field Sobriety Test in Texas?

Getting pulled over for suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI) is never a good experience. You might think that you have nothing to worry about if you’re completely sober, but that’s a false notion. Practically speaking, the police can – and do – use any small deviation from the rules of the road as a reason to stop someone to investigate a possible DWI.

During the course of the officer’s investigation, you’ll be asked to show your driver’s license and registration. You’ll probably be asked what you were doing and if you’ve had anything to drink – whether or not you choose to answer these questions is your right, so never feel compelled to do so (we generally advise that you don’t).

So, suppose the officer’s investigation progresses to a point where you are offered a field sobriety test. “If you pass,” the officer says, “I’ll let you go on your way. It should be really easy.”

Are you obligated to comply with this test? No, you never have to comply with a field sobriety test, and here’s why.

Field Sobriety Tests Should Be Avoided

Developed during the 1980s, the field sobriety test in Texas is much like others used by police in other states. It consists of three tests that are meant to assess a driver’s sobriety through balance and coordination tasks.

These tests include the following:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, which involves asking the suspect to follow an object with their eyes while the police officer looks for jerking movement that can be caused by alcohol consumption.
  • The Walk the Line and Turn Test, which has the driver walk in a straight line for nine steps, do a three-point turn at the end and walk back heel-to-toe without ever losing balance.
  • The One-Leg Stand Test, which requires the driver to stand on one leg for 30 seconds – sometimes while reciting the alphabet in reverse order.

If you thought you might not be able to pass one of these tests while sober, that’s ultimately the problem with field sobriety tests. They aren’t scientific in their design, they’re prone to generating false positives, and they’re conducted by biased investigators – people who arguably want you to fail so they can get the probable cause they need to initiate an arrest.

For these reasons, you should never agree to a field sobriety test – and don’t forget that you never have to!

Contact Us for DWI Help

If you are arrested for DWI, call The Law Office of Rene A. Flores PLLC for legal assistance. If complying with a field sobriety test resulted in your arrest, we may be able to develop a legal strategy to use this fact for your benefit.

Learn more about how our attorney can help you when you contact us online.

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