Field sobriety tests are one of several tools law enforcement officers may use to determine whether you have been drinking and driving. There are three different types of tests that are sanctioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Police may ask you to perform the walk-and-turn, one-leg stand or horizontal gaze nystagmus test. However, Texas law allows you to decline a field sobriety test.
There are several major problems with field sobriety tests. Problems with these tests include:
- Law enforcement officers often do not administer or grade these tests correctly. Some officers even use tests that are not sanctioned by NHTSA.
- Certain health conditions can make you more likely to fail a field sobriety test. If you are anxious or sleep-deprived while taking the test, then you would be less likely to pass. You could fail the test if you had knee or back pain.
- Certain types of clothing could make you fail a field sobriety test. You could be more likely to fail the walk-and-turn test, where you put one foot in front of the other and walk in a straight line, if you were barefoot or wearing high heels.
- Field sobriety tests are videotaped. Anything you do or say during the test could be used against you by the prosecution.
These are only a few examples of why taking a field sobriety test could put you at a disadvantage. Even adverse weather conditions could increase the chances of failure.
What Happens if I Took the Field Sobriety Test?
You should call an attorney as soon as possible after being arrested on suspicion of a DWI. If you took a field sobriety test, then an attorney can determine whether the test was sanctioned or administered correctly. Your attorney could uncover other factors that may have affected the test’s accuracy. As a result, your attorney could fight to have your charges reduced or dismissed.
Penalties for a DWI are steep in Texas. If this is your first DWI, then you could be facing a $2,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail. You could also lose your driver’s license for up to one year. Having a DWI on your record could also affect future employment opportunities. Do not go down without a fight. Let our attorneys fight on your behalf.
At Smith & Vinson Law Firm, PLLC, our experienced DWI defense attorneys provide a passionate defense for our clients.