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What Do I Need To Know About Field Sobriety Tests In Texas?

A field sobriety test is often administered after a police officer pulls someone over and notices signs of intoxication. This reasonable suspicion can include signs like red or bloodshot eyes, slurred speech or the smell of alcohol. At this point, the police officer may ask the driver to step out of the vehicle and perform a field sobriety test. But what is this? What do you need to know about it? Is it always accurate or foolproof? Having the right information and protection is crucial when facing a DWI charge in San Antonio.

What Is A Field Sobriety Test? What Will The Police Officer Do?

A field sobriety test is conducted after you are pulled over, usually outside your vehicle right there on the side of the road. The purpose is to determine your levels of intoxication and figure out if there are grounds to arrest you for a DWI. A standard field sobriety test often has three components:

  • Standing on one leg – Subjects are asked to stand on one leg for a period of time. This used to test balance and observe swaying.
  • A test of walking and turning – Subjects are asked to walk heel to toe along an imaginary line and then turn around. Similarly to the one-leg test, this is used to determine balance.
  • The horizontal gaze nystagmus test – Subjects are asked to follow an object with their eyes. If intoxicated, there will be signs of involuntary eye movement.

These are the three most common types of field sobriety tests, but the police officer may ask you to perform other tasks in order to observe your level of intoxication.

Are These Tests Accurate?

No. While these tests can cause you to fumble, sway or lose your balance, none of these are sure-fire ways to determine your level of intoxication. There are countless factors that can contribute to poor balance, swaying or stumbling during these tests. Previous injuries, age, weight, road conditions, poor instructions and more can contribute to “failing” these types of tests, even if your blood alcohol content is well within the legal limits.

An experienced attorney can evaluate your situation at the time of your arrest and help build a credible defense based on an inaccurate field sobriety test.

Do You Have To Submit To A Field Sobriety Test?

No. You are not legally required to take a field sobriety test.

An Attorney Can Fight These Tests

As mentioned above, field sobriety tests are by no means a fool-proof indication of intoxication, but they can be grounds for a DWI arrest. If you were arrested after a field sobriety test, contact an attorney. A DWI lawyer with skill and experience can successfully contest a field sobriety test based on a variety of factors.

At Ramos & Del Cueto, the criminal defense attorneys on our team have taken on countless DWI cases, and we’ve seen it all when it comes to these tests. Our attorneys know how to disprove them and build you a successful defense. Find out more with an initial consultation. We’ll evaluate your situation and help explain what your options are after a DWI arrest. Use our online contact form or call 210-761-6004 to get more information.