You just left a restaurant after having dinner and drinks with friends. On your way home, you get stopped for a minor traffic violation. The officer smells alcohol on your breath. You can smell alcohol, even if you have had only one drink. So it does not make sense to lie about drinking. That will just increase the officer’s suspicion that you are drunk. But now the stop turns into a driving while intoxicated investigation.

The officer wants you to perform field sobriety tests. Are you required to do them?

The simple answer is No. you are not required to do FIELD sobriety tests.

There is no law that says you have to do any test the officer requests. You can refuse. Do not get into an argument with the officer. Arguing translate to a sign of intoxication. Just tell him you do not want to do the tests. Police use these tests to gather evidence against you.

Don’t oblige them by providing them with evidence they can use against you. To get you to perform the tests, the officer will have you step to the rear of your car. This way the the dash cam in his car can record everything that happens.

He will also have a microphone on which captures everything you and he say to each other. The officer knows about the recording. But you may not. And he does not have to tell you this is happening.

He will then begin to ask you questions. Questions like: where did you come from, where are you going, have you been drinking. How many drinks did you have. When was your first and last drink, and more. Any answers you give him are recorded and used against you later.

Next he will want you to do field sobriety tests.

He might say something like “i just want to see if you are OK to drive.” you do not have to comply. Police use these tests to gather evidence of you intoxication. You do not have to do them. And the office cannot force you to do them.

  1. The first test is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. It consists of you holding your head still while your eyes follow a stimulus like his finger or the tip of a pin. He is looking to see if you have nystagmus or jerking of your eyes while the follow the stimulus.
  2. The second test is the walk and turn test. The office tells you to walk nine steps and turn around and take nine steps back. He looks for clues of intoxication but he does not tell you what the clues are.
  3. The third test is a one leg stand test where you will need to stand on one leg for 30 seconds. The officer will keep time. He looks for clues or intoxication. But he does not tell you what the clues are.

He wants yo to do the field sobriety tests so he can collect evidence of your intoxication.

The tests are not easy to perform. You should never try and do them.

The real issue is whether you have to do the tests if the officer asks? The answer is NO, you do not have to perform these field sobriety tests. The officer cannot make and you are much better off if you refuse to perform the test. A simple no sir is good enough.

Police use these field sobriety tests to collect evidence or your intoxication. Don’t help the officer get you convicted. Don’t do the tests.

You are not required to perform these tests. So, Don’t.

By: Andrew Williams, board certified criminal defense lawyer.

Andrew Williams, an experienced attorney who can challenge evidence in a DWI case
About the Author: Andrew Williams
I am a criminal defense lawyer with over 20 years experience defending people accused of wrongdoing. I am board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Only ten percent of attorneys in Texas are board certified in their respective field. I practice criminal law exclusively in both state and federal court including appeals of criminal cases.