In the state of Texas an individual can be convicted of a DWI through either a blood alcohol content test (BAC) or through a field sobriety test. Although BAC tests are inadmissible at trial due to potential errors, in order to successfully challenge a DWI an individual must beat the field sobriety test.
How Officers Decide to Conduct a Field Sobriety Test
When pulling over a driver for a potential DWI, law enforcement officers may make initial observations such as:
- Does the driver’s breath smells like alcohol?
- Does the driver has bloodshot eyes?
- Is the driver’s speech is slurred?
If any of these signs are exhibited, the officer may then implement the field sobriety testing to test the driver’s balance, reflexes, and mental capabilities.
Field Sobriety Testing Methods
Although law enforcement officers may use different methods in their field sobriety testing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has established standardized testing:
- The one leg stand
- Walk and turn test
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus
Do I Have to Submit to a Field Sobriety Test?
No, an individual is not required to submit to a field sobriety test and is allowed to refuse such testing. However, refusal to participate in field sobriety testing will more than likely result in an arrest.
Factors to Consider When Challenging the Validity of Your Field Sobriety Test
If you are subsequently arrested for a DWI, you must then prepare to challenge the accuracy of the field sobriety test. When deciding to challenge your DWI charge, and thus your field sobriety test, you must take into account factors such as:
- The manner in which you exited your vehicle. Did you need the car for support as you walked?
- Do you have any injuries or health conditions that could have prevented you from doing the testing or would have caused issues with conducting the testing?
- Do you have problems with balance, middle ear problems, or any other condition that causes difficulty with balancing?
- Are you overweight? How old are you? Overweight and older people may have problems with participating in a field sobriety test.
- Were you wearing high heels during the testing? If yes, did you have the opportunity to take your heels off?
- What were the conditions when testing took place? Was the surface flat, dry, and non-slippery? Did you have ample room to complete the testing? Was it raining or snowing?
Did Field Sobriety Testing Result in Your Arrest?
If you have been charged with a DWI through field sobriety testing, it is important that you seek an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you in challenging the accuracy for your testing. Here at the Wilder Firm, we have helped individuals charged with driving while intoxicated crimes from failing a field sobriety test. Our team of attorneys is highly qualified in the industry and is confident in our abilities to defend you through the DWI process. When working with the trial lawyers at the Wilder Firm, you will be provided with highly experienced, knowledgeable attorneys that will ensure that your DWI proceedings will go smoothly with the use of our aggressive, client-focused defense strategies. Contact the Wilder DWI Defense Firm today to schedule your free consultation.