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Do I have to perform DWI field sobriety tests?

Even if you have never gone through a DUI traffic stop before, you probably have driven past one or at least seen one portrayed on TV. The elements are probably familiar: the officer asking questions to the driver, having them blow into a breath test device and asking them to walk a straight line, balance on one foot and other tests.

The latter tests are called field sobriety tests. The idea is that a police officer can observe a suspected drunk person perform challenging physical stunts and determine if they are legally intoxicated. While controversial, field sobriety tests are standard parts of police traffic stops in Temple and across the country.

What if I refuse to do field sobriety tests?

In the moment, with the officer standing over you as their squad car’s lights flash, it might not seem like you have a choice but to comply with the officer’s “order” to do field sobriety tests. But actually, you do. That’s because field sobriety tests are voluntary in Texas. Unlike the roadside breath test or the blood alcohol content tests performed at the police station, no implied consent law applies. You cannot get arrested or even have your driver’s license suspended solely for refusing field sobriety testing.

Whether you choose to do the tests or not is up to you. Remember, their point is to help the officer gather evidence against you so that they have probable cause to make an arrest. The officer might arrest you for DWI anyway, but generally, you are under no obligation to incriminate yourself. On the other hand, if you are sure you are below the legal limit, you might choose to demonstrate this by cooperating with the tests.

You cannot control whether you get arrested on DWI charges, but you can control what you do about it. This includes working with a defense attorney to fight for your civil rights and work toward a fair resolution.