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San Antonio DWI – Field Sobriety Tests

San Antonio DWI Lawyers at Parent-Law fight for the rights of individuals that have been falsely accused of driving while intoxicated. Our goal is to have your case immediately thrown out of court or have the charges reduced to the minimum possible offense. One of the many ways to get a case immediately dismissed is to call into question the validity of standardized field sobriety tests that may produce false positive readings and cause your arrest to be invalid.

A Texas Police officer can, at their discretion, require a motorist to perform a battery of field sobriety tests with or without having probable cause to believe that a suspect was drinking. A person can be stopped if the officer merely has a suspicion to believe that drinking and driving may have occurred.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration trains police officers how to properly administer field sobriety test. NHTSA in their training program recognizes only four field sobriety tests. The first test tracks eye movement.

As you have probably noticed, the first thing an officer that suspects you have been drinking will do is to shine his flashlight in your eyes. Without you knowing it he is performing the first sobriety test that tracks horizontal gaze reflexes. The test seeks to determine that you are able to smoothly follow an object with your eyes without excessively jerking back and forth. If you fail, the officer has suspicion that you may have been drinking and will conduct the next test, the “walk and turn” and “one leg stand” test. You will be instructed to walk nine steps straight ahead, with no space in between your feet, the heel of your front foot touching the toe of your back foot. There are a number of simple, yet specific instructions given such as not holding your arms out and not stopping that the officer looks for you to remember while you are performing the walk test. You may also be asked to stand on one leg and count by units of one thousand for a total of 30 seconds, all the while holding one foot 6 inches off the ground, not using your arms to balance and not hopping on one foot.

Most Texas police officers are untrained, poorly trained, or perform the field sobriety tests improperly. If you score poorly on the field sobriety tests it does not mean that you are guilty of DWI as there is a margin of error in the testing. Most tests are only approximately 75% reliable so their efficacy can be challenged before trial or in court if need be. Standard Field Sobriety Tests are an unreliable indicator whether or not a person has been drinking more than the legal limit.