Drinking and driving is a serious offense that can land you in legal trouble. If you are pulled over under suspicion of driving intoxicated, the police officer will likely ask you to take a field sobriety test.
But what are your rights when it comes to these tests? In Texas, you are allowed to refuse a field sobriety test. However, there may be consequences.
What is a field sobriety test?
A field sobriety test is a set of exercises administered at the scene of a potential DUI stop to evaluate the level of intoxication. The test is designed to be simple and quick, with results that can immediately be assessed by law enforcement personnel. Officers may ask for up to three of these tests to decide; common elements are balance, coordination and reaction time.
While you may think that it’s best to cooperate with police officers, you have the right to refuse a field sobriety test if one is requested of you. Refusing to take part in field sobriety tests can be beneficial because the results of such tests can be controversial. For instance, there is no scientific measure for intoxication for them, so the results are derived from a subjective assessment made by the police officer administering it. Furthermore, physical and medical conditions can often render an individual unable to pass even though they may not be deemed intoxicated according to official standards.
However, it is imperative to remember that field sobriety tests are not the same as tests that measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). Texas’ implied consent law requires drivers to submit to a breath, blood, urine or other chemical tests upon lawfully being arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI). Ignoring this law can have serious consequences, including jail time and steep fines.
If you are facing drunk driving charges in Texas, seeking legal help is essential. You will want someone who can build a strong defense and protect your rights. In some cases, they may be able to get your charges reduced.