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Why You Should Refuse a Field Sobriety Test

 Posted on February 09, 2024 in DWI

Blog ImageComing back from a night out with some friends, you are suddenly alerted to a flash of red and blue lights in your rearview mirror. You are ordered to pull over to the side of the road while the officer follows close behind. With both vehicles in park, the officer strolls up to the driver-side window, asks you to roll it down, and notices a hint of alcohol. Whether you have imbibed or not the officer may still be suspicious, which could lead to him or her asking for you to submit to a field sobriety test. Though the officer may imply it is required you submit, you are not legally obligated to do so and, in most cases, should not. Facing driving while intoxicated charges can be difficult on your own which is why consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney is so important.

What is a Field Sobriety Test?

Officers conduct field sobriety tests as preliminary tests in determining whether or not a driver is intoxicated. The tests are performed on the side of the road and are designed to test your motor skills. There are multiple tests that an officer can subject you to but will most often include:

  • Standing on one leg for about 30 seconds, often accompanied by outstretched arms, and possibly touching the nose with the tip of your finger

  • Walking in a straight line toe-to-heel, making a turn, and walking back toe-to-heel where you started

What To Expect From a Field Sobriety Test

Field sobriety tests are an unreliable way of determining a driver’s intoxication and only serve as a means for officers to act on their suspicions. A refusal can be used in court but so can the results which will all be at the discretion of the officer. The officer will use the results to build a case against you with the intent to set you up to fail.

By refusing a field sobriety test, you remove one piece of evidence that can be used against you. So do yourself a favor and do not incriminate yourself by submitting to unreliable testing.

Will I Get In Trouble For Refusing a Field Sobriety Test?

Chances are that if you refuse a field sobriety test, the officer will arrest you if they feel they already have enough evidence to suggest you were driving intoxicated. However, you were likely to get arrested anyway by failing the field sobriety testing - but now there is less evidence against you. Just be sure to politely refuse the officer as you do not want to give them any reason to make the situation worse.

Even if you are not drinking and driving, a lack of coordination will not work in your favor concerning field sobriety tests. However, you are an adult and can choose to do as you wish. So if you are sober and want to prove it by submitting to the field sobriety test, that is your prerogative.

One important exception to this is that if you are on probation, taking a field sobriety test on demand may be a condition of your probation. In that case, refusing could get you into serious legal trouble.

Contact a Tarrant County, TX Criminal Defense Attorney

Perhaps next time it would be better if you just took an Uber. But if you are facing DWI charges in Texas, an experienced Dallas, TX DWI and field sobriety test defense lawyer can help. The Law Office of Michelle Poblenz can offer an aggressive defense on your behalf to try and get your charges reduced or dropped. Contact the office today at 469-845-3031 to discuss your case.

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