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Do you have the right to refuse a Texas field sobriety test?

On Behalf of | May 1, 2023 | Criminal Defense

It is not uncommon to have a small drink or two and, believing you are under the blood alcohol limit of 0.08 and able to safely drive, hit the road. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, there were almost 89,500 reported driving while under the influence charges in Texas in 2021 alone.

However, it is an action that can have serious consequences for you and others on the road, including legal ramifications. If a police officer pulls you over, he or she may ask you to perform a field sobriety test, a series of physical activities designed to gauge your level of intoxication. You may not realize that you have the right to refuse to take it, which can lead to unintended consequences.

Field sobriety tests are not always accurate

These tests are largely subjective, dependent on the officer’s judgment. It is possible to fail them even if you have not had a single drop of alcohol in your entire life. Exhaustion, illness or eye problems can have an effect on your performance in the eye test, for instance. If you are already feeling sick or dizzy, you may not be able to walk as straight a line as the officer expects.

Anxiety, which is natural when you find yourself stopped by the police, can also cause you to perform poorly. You can also fail because you lack good coordination in the first place or because the officer gave you poor directions.

You have the right to say no

The police officer may still arrest you. However, even if you end up in custody, you deny prosecutors more evidence to use against you.

The results of a field sobriety test may act against you in court, even if they are inaccurate. Refusing to take one helps avoid this and is your right.