A field sobriety test is a standardized method of assessing a driver’s level of impairment when suspected of driving while intoxicated (DWI). According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are three primary types of standard field sobriety tests:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN): Monitors the driver’s eye movements
- Walk and Turn: Evaluates a driver’s ability to follow instructions
- One-Leg Stand: Measures the driver’s physical ability and agility
Consent for a Field Sobriety Test is Implied in Texas
When a police officer suspects you of DWI, they may pull your car over and administer a field sobriety test. According to Texas Transportation Code § 724.011, you must consent to a test of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. You might face serious penalties if you refuse to:
- Perform a field sobriety test
- Take a breathalyzer test
- Submit a specimen for testing
If you refused to submit to a field sobriety or BAC test, it can lead to automatic license suspension. You may face driver’s license suspension even if you are not subsequently convicted of DWI. This suspension will last for at least six months, according to Texas Transportation Code § 724.015, and can make handling work, school, and family obligations difficult.
A criminal defense lawyer from our firm in Dallas may help you understand how the results of such a test led to your DWI arrest and help you fight these charges and potential penalties.
Police Can Compel You to Take a Field Sobriety Test
Under certain circumstances, you cannot refuse to submit to having your sobriety assessed or your BAC tested. According to Texas Transportation Code § 724.012, you cannot refuse testing if you were involved in a car or boat accident that:
- Has or will result in a fatality
- Has or will result in physical injuries
- Required an ambulance for an injured party
Testing may also be mandatory if you have previous DWI convictions or if a minor was in your car at the time you were pulled over. If these circumstances apply to you, a defense lawyer from our team might be able to help you avoid the loss of your driving privileges.
An ALR Hearing Might Help You Avoid a Suspended License
The Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) has an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) program that handles license suspension in the event that you:
- Refused a field sobriety or BAC test
- Had a BAC of 0.08% or higher while driving a privately-owned car
- Had a BAC of 0.04% or higher while driving a commercial car
Through this program, you may be able to request a hearing to contest the suspension of your license. An ALR hearing is separate from any criminal procedures you may face. One of our DWI lawyers might be able to help you at each of these proceedings to help you preserve your rights and maintain your driving privileges.
How an ALR Hearing Works
According to TxDPS, you must request an ALR hearing within 15 days of notification of license suspension. Failure to request your hearing within the allotted time leads to an automatic license suspension.
It may take up to three months to receive a date for your hearing. At the hearing, the state will present its case against you, and your lawyer will have the opportunity to argue in your defense.
Our team may challenge the effectiveness or validity of any field sobriety testing you underwent. We might also question the calibration of any machinery used to conduct BAC testing. If your defense is successful, your license will not be suspended.
Get Help If You Failed or Refused a Field Sobriety Test
If you are facing possible DWI charges in Texas after failing or refusing to take a field sobriety test, you do not have to face the aftermath on your own. Let our team defend you. Randall B. Isenberg holds more than 30 years of experience in a career as a former prosecutor and state district judge and can use this to protect your rights.
Find out more about what a field sobriety test is and how our team could question the validity of such a test in your defense. Contact our client intake team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg by calling (214) 696-9253 today. Your reputation is one of the most valuable things you have—allow our team to help you protect it.