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Do I Have to Submit to Field Sobriety Tests?

When you are pulled over by police officers for suspected drunk driving, there's a good chance you'll be asked to submit to field sobriety tests. If an officer asks you to take field sobriety tests, you will most likely have to do the following three:

  • Single-leg stand: You will be asked to lift one of your feet about six inches in the air and count out loud until the officer tells you to stop and put your foot back on the ground. If you sway or indicate alcohol-related imbalance, the officer may have reason to believe you are intoxicated.
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus: In this test, an officer will have you follow an object with your eyes and watch for jerky eye motions.
  • Walk-and-turn: This one is also known as "walking the line." You will have to walk along the side of the road, placing one foot in front of the other, maintain balance, and follow verbal cues as to when to stop, turn around, etc.

With the exception of the horizontal gaze nystagmus, these tests and their results do not equate to hard, irrefutable science. They are designed to prove intoxication. In fact, they are so successful in doing so that even a sober person may have difficulty passing them. Knowing these tests are intended to trap, you may choose not to submit to roadside sobriety tests. Despite pressure from law enforcement, you are within your rights to refuse such testing.

However, if you do opt out of these tests, it is important to note that you may face some immediate consequences for doing so. First of all, declining field sobriety tests makes you appear guilty of driving drunk, which may not serve you well if you end up in DUI court. Then, you will be taken to a police station (which you cannot refuse) and asked to submit to chemical testing, such as blood, breath, and urine tests. You may also refuse chemical testing, but your license will be immediately suspended if you do and, again, you run the risk of unnecessarily bolstering an appearance of guilt.

Tough DWI Defense Attorneys in Austin

If you are headed for DWI court or have recently had a roadside conflict with law enforcement related to sobriety tests, let our team of experienced DWI defense lawyers help you out. We know your rights and are ready to help protect you from unfair treatment by police and further unfair treatment in court.

Call our team at Komie & Morrow, LLP at (512) 640-2050 or contact us for a free case evaluation today.

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