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Field sobriety tests are used by law enforcement to establish probable cause that a driver is intoxicated – that his or her abilities are impaired. After an officer observes driving behavior that indicates intoxication, or stops a driver at a sobriety checkpoint, one or more Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) may be administered:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
- Walk and Turn
- One-Leg Stand
Your performance on field sobriety tests may be used to show that your abilities were impaired, supporting driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges. Even if you “failed” one or more field sobriety tests, however, this does not mean that your case is hopeless or even that you were actually intoxicated. These tests have weaknesses. A skilled Houston DWI attorney can expose these in the fight for a Not Guilty verdict.
Can I Refuse Field Sobriety Testing?
You have the right to refuse field sobriety testing, but you may still be arrested for DWI, at which point you will be taken to the police station and asked to submit to a breath or blood test. If you refuse breath or blood testing, you may face license suspension.
In some situations, your blood may be forcibly taken, against your consent (during no-refusal time periods in Texas, officers may draw blood without your consent, if probable cause is established). If this is the case, agreeing to a breath test is a better choice, as they are more easily contested in court.