The DWI Field Sobriety Test in Texas: Think Twice Before You Comply

By Attorney Emmett R. Reyes

In Texas, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a grave offense, and officers frequently use Field Sobriety Tests (FST) as their primary tools to gauge intoxication. The burning question for many drivers is: Should I submit to the FST if pulled over? While the choice ultimately lies with the individual, I aim to shed light on the myriad reasons one might reconsider submitting to these tests.

Reasons to Think Twice Before Submitting:

1. Highly Subjective Nature: The results of an FST, although standardized, are often based on an officer’s subjective interpretation. A slight wobble, nervousness, or even miscommunication can lead to unfavorable conclusions about your sobriety.

2. Physical Limitations: Not everyone is equipped to ace these tests. Age, medical conditions, or even what shoes you’re wearing can negatively impact your performance. It’s not uncommon for sober individuals to have balance or coordination issues, making the FST not a “one size fits all” determination tool.

3. Stress-Induced Errors: The mere act of being pulled over can be nerve-wracking. Stress and nervousness, even in the soberest individuals, can lead to mistakes that might be misconstrued as intoxication.

4. Evidence Pile-Up: Should the officer believe you failed the FST, not only will you likely be arrested, but this so-called “failure” will be wielded as evidence against you in court. The very test meant to gauge your sobriety might become the weapon that seals your conviction.

5. No Legal Repercussion for Refusal: Unlike breath or blood tests, where refusal can have immediate legal consequences, declining a Field Sobriety Test in Texas carries no such penalty.

The Silver Lining of Compliance:

While I’ve outlined strong considerations against submitting to an FST, there are instances when compliance might be beneficial:

1. Gesture of Cooperation: Complying can be viewed as a sign of goodwill and cooperation. If you’re entirely confident about your sobriety and the conditions are right, you might consider taking the test.

2. Possible Immediate Release: Acing the test could lead to the officer letting you go on the spot, avoiding further complications.

In Conclusion:

Being informed is your strongest defense. While there are times when submitting to an FST might seem like the path of least resistance, it’s essential to remember the potential pitfalls and biases inherent in such tests.

If you’re facing a DWI charge or have concerns about Field Sobriety Tests in Texas, don’t hesitate to get expert advice. Arm yourself with knowledge and seek representation that genuinely understands the nuances of DWI laws.

For further insights, support, or questions about DWI proceedings in Texas, consider calling The Law Office of Emmett R. Reyes Law, (361) 944-4529. Your right to fair treatment on Texas roads is our top priority.