Texas DUI Defense Attorney Tells You What You Need to Know About Field Sobriety Tests

Did you know that you have a choice about whether you participate in field sobriety tests? Law enforcement officers won’t come right out and tell you that you have a choice, because they want you to get out of your car and do the tests. It is essential that drivers do remember that they have a choice of whether or not to participate in field sobriety tests, because there are risks associated with doing so.

Any time you drive, whether you drink or not, you are at risk for being stopped and asked to perform field sobriety tests. In fact, some sober drivers are accused of driving under the influence of alcohol after failing one or more field sobriety tests. This, in and of itself, is quite troubling. Drivers who are completely sober can fail field sobriety tests and be accused of DUI because the tests are set up so that many people will fail them, and because they are a subjective measure of behavior. If you are not familiar with what “subjective” means, it means that the officer who observes you will form an opinion of whether or not you are sober, and that opinion is the result of the test.

Drivers should be aware that there is a growing public awareness that field sobriety tests are not accurate ways to assess intoxication. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration does not issue any standards for administering or scoring field sobriety tests. As mentioned before, the tests are completely subjective in nature. Research has shown that police officers assess the driver’s level of intoxication incorrectly during one third of all of the field sobriety tests that they administer. That is an unacceptable margin of error for a test that can result in a person being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and having to go through all of the hardships that go along with that.

Some drivers choose to engage in field sobriety tests because they feel that it will prove that they are sober. Unfortunately, these drivers are all too often disappointed when they fail the tests. One reason that field sobriety tests don’t help drivers prove that they are sober is that the officer who is asking the driver to do the test has already made up their mind that they believe the driver to be intoxicated. If you choose to exit your vehicle under those circumstances, your every move, whether intentional or not, could be used as evidence to reinforce the officer’s pre-determined conclusion that you were intoxicated when your vehicle was stopped.

Choosing not to participate in field sobriety tests is a good way for drivers to avoid being falsely accused of driving under the influence of alcohol. If, despite your best efforts, you are accused of DUI, a Texas DUI Defense Attorney can help you build a strong defense against it. If you have questions about DUI, call Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, today at 214-521-4567.


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