Texas DWI FAQ, Part 2: Can I Say No to Field Sobriety Tests?

Can I Say No to Field Sobriety Tests?The Standardized Field Sobriety Test is a series of tasks police officers like to use when a person is suspected of drunk driving. It consists of three parts:

  1. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, where the officer checks the driver’s eyes for jagged, erratic movement
  2. The Walk and Turn, where the officer asks the driver to walk in a straight line, turn, and walk back
  3. The One Leg Stand, where the driver is asked to stand on one leg and balance

There is no legal requirement for drivers suspected of intoxication to engage in these field sobriety tests. The officer may or may not ever inform you of this fact. Furthermore, these tests can be difficult to get right even if you are sober. People who have physical ailments, for example, may find it difficult to stand on one leg while counting. For these reasons, it is not generally recommended that you take the Standardized Field Sobriety Test.

How Do I Tell a Cop I Don’t Want to Take the Tests?

It can be intimidating telling a police officer that you do not wish to perform the field sobriety tests. One way to politely decline the tests is to inform the officer that you are willing to comply with all legally required actions. From this point, the officer will have to inform you that the tests are voluntary, opening up your opportunity to tell the officer you do not wish to take the tests. Your refusal to do the field sobriety test may invite the officer to probe further in a search for probable cause, but you have not broken any laws in refusing and cannot be penalized.



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