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Are field sobriety tests mandatory?

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Throughout the year 2019, Texas saw a total of 24,617 DWI-related crashes. When an officer suspects that a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will instruct the driver to do a field sobriety test. These tests are a tool that officers use to help determine whether or not the driver is likely intoxicated.

They’re not mandatory

Often, those pulled over for suspicion of DWI think that they must do whatever the officer asks them to. In reality, a citizen is not required to undergo any field sobriety test. While it may seem like the officer is very insistent on undergoing these tests, you do have the right to refuse to do them. It’s advisable to simply decline to undergo the tests in a polite manner. Officers can’t legally force you to undergo any of these standardized field sobriety tests. Some of the most common tests that they will ask you to take are the horizontal gaze test, the walk-and-turn test and the one-leg stand test.

Why should you decline a field sobriety test?

When it comes to DWI charges, the plaintiff will be using as much evidence as possible against you. Many times, those charged with DWI opt to undergo field sobriety tests because they thought they had to. What they end up finding out is that the results of these field sobriety tests are used in the case against them later on down the road. For this reason, it’s advisable not to do these tests as it provides less evidence against you for the charges.

While getting pulled over for a DWI may not be something that you want to plan for, it can be helpful to understand what your rights are. Realize that you do not have any legal obligation to participate in a field sobriety test. If you’ve been arrested for a DWI and agreed to these tests, it’s highly advisable to contact an attorney to help fight your case.