Texas Field Sobriety Tests

Why are Field Sobriety Tests Performed?

To deter drunk driving from happening throughout Texas, police officers have been instructed to keep an eye out for signs of intoxicated driving, such as erratic driving, delayed reactions, slurred speech, and reddened eyes. If they suspect that an individual is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there are a series of field sobriety tests they can administer to further confirm their suspicions.

Aside from breath and blood tests, law enforcement officials will often request that a driver submits to a field sobriety test. These tests measure a person’s coordination, motor skills, and sobriety.

The Types of Field Sobriety Tests

There are three main types of field sobriety tests: the walk-and-turn test, the one-leg stand, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.

The walk-and-turn involves the person being asked to walk in heel-to-toe fashion along a straight line for nine steps. On the ninth step, the person needs to turn in place and walk back in a similar manner. Loss of balance, an improper turn, or a loss of step counts could be a sign of intoxication according to law enforcement.

The one-leg stand requires an individual to stand with one foot about six inches above the ground. The officer asks the person to count aloud while his or her foot is held above the ground until the officer instructs him or her to put their foot down. The officer will be looking for signs of swaying, using arms to balance, or hops to keep balance.

Lastly, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test measures a person’s optical responsiveness. An individual must follow a slow moving object with his or her eyes. Law enforcement will be looking for how well the person’s eyes are able to respond to the moving object. A slow reaction is often an indication of potential impairment.

Can I Refuse to Take a Field Sobriety Test?

Unlike refusing a breath or blood test, there are no legal repercussions for refusing to participate in a field sobriety test. Unfortunately, police officers may use a refusal of the tests as probable cause to arrest. In addition, the refusal of the test may be used as evidence of intoxication in a jury trial.

If you failed or refused a field sobriety test in Texas and were charged with DWI, our Plano criminal defense attorney at Peveto Law is ready to protect your rights and future. Having an experienced lawyer on your side can help you obtain the most favorable outcome possible in your case.

Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation today.