The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ordained three different field sobriety tests that officers are expected to administer if they suspect a person for driving under the influence. An officer can request a person to perform the following tests:

  • The horizontal gaze nystagmus test- The officer will watch the gaze of a suspect and see if it follows an object which is slowly moving such as a pen or a flashlight
  • Walk-and-turn- The suspect is told by the officer to take nine steps and then turn
  • One-leg stand- The suspect is told to stand on one leg by the officer and count for around 30 seconds.

If a person cannot perform the above tests in a proper manner and the officer notices abnormal behavior such as a lot of swaying, jerking or unnecessary moving around, then a person will most likely be tested further with a blood or breath test or they may even be arrested on the spot depending on how heavily impaired they appeared to the officer.

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The good news is that in Texas, a person is allowed to decline a field sobriety test and they are not required to give it on the request of an officer. If anyone has been forcefully made to take this test, they should get in touch with a DUI lawyer in Edinberg, Texas to help them get legally retributed for being compelled to do something which was not mandatory for them to perform.

Also, there can easily be many other legal problems associated with the results of field sobriety tests. Since there can be variations in the way the test is graded or administered, it is possible that an officer uses an unauthorized test without informing the person and grades it unfairly as well. If this is the case an attorney can help analyze what happened and present evidence to the court to prove that the test was not administered correctly, to begin with.

Another problem that can arise with these tests is that the results can easily be thrown off if a person is sleep-deprived, on medications, or if they have balancing or vision problems in general. A person could easily be innocent but still, fail the field sobriety test. It is always a good idea to call an attorney after an officer has taken the test in order to get proper advice on what steps should now be taken to help a person clear their name.

What happens if I fail a field sobriety test?

If the officer decides that a person’s performance on the tests didn’t make the cut, then they will usually request a blood or breath analyzing tests next. Unlike the field sobriety test, it is required for all drivers to comply with this test. Once the results are determined the officer will either let a person go because they were not intoxicated according to the readings, or they will arrest a person and suspend their license on the spot because the reading showed a high BAC.

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