If the police believe you have been driving while intoxicated (DWI), they might ask you to perform a set of field sobriety tests. These are designed to test things such as your coordination to give officers a better indication of whether you are drunk or not.
Texas law does not require you to take them, and many legal advisors believe you shouldn’t. Here is why:
1. Failing will give the police more reason to arrest you.
The police need probable cause that you have committed a crime to arrest you. If you fail a field sobriety test or any other alcohol test, then you give them that probable cause. You can face penalties for refusing breath or blood tests but not for refusing field sobriety tests, so why bother doing them?
2. They are very easy to fail.
Many people who have not been drinking fail these tests. It could be due to nerves, misunderstanding the police officer’s instructions, or because of a certain medical condition.
- If you have an eye that wanders naturally, the police officer may take your inability to follow their light or pen as a sign you are drunk
- If you have an inner ear issue, balancing on one leg may always be too difficult
- If you have an injured leg, walking in a straight line may be much harder than if you didn’t
2. The police are not looking to set you free
While the tests are meant to be impartial, if the police are asking you to take them, it is because they think you are drunk and are trying to prove it. There is no benefit to passing the tests and a whole lot of consequences for failing them. A DWI can be difficult to fight, so why make it harder?