What Happens If I Refuse To Take A Field Sobriety Test In Texas?
If an officer has pulled you over for a traffic offense and has asked you to exit the vehicle to perform the field sobriety tests, at that point, you are under investigation for a DWI. The officer has noted in his report or will note in his report that he smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage on you or may smell the odor of drugs, specifically marijuana, coming from your car and that is the reason he is initiating the investigation. Also, if you have admitted to consuming any alcohol, that may trigger an investigation. Just because you are under investigation for DWI does not mean that you are under any obligation to perform the field sobriety tests that the officer is going to ask you to perform. It’s certainly going to be a coercive environment and most law-abiding citizens feel a compulsion to obey and abide by requests made by law enforcement. So when a law enforcement officer asks you to do the field sobriety tests, you certainly have a choice to make as to whether or not you want to cooperate with them. It is better to be informed about this beforehand so you know what to do in the unfortunate event if you are actually stopped and questioned by an officer. To know more about what to do in case you are stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence, contact the DWI Defense Attorneys in Austin, Texas at our office. Our DWI Defense Lawyer will offer you a Free Consultation and will answer any questions that you may have.
You may have heard of something the police like to talk about, a no refusal weekend. I think the common expectation of the public is that a no refusal weekend means that you do not have the right or ability to refuse a field sobriety test if the officer asks you to perform one but nothing can be further from the truth and I think that the reason they phrase it that way is to try to coerce people into doing these tests that they never have to complete, and especially for people who may have medical conditions that affect the outcome of the tests or who may be overweight or older, these tests can end up yielding very unfair results. It’s reasonable oftentimes, for a person to refuse or want to refuse to perform these tests. Know, that if you do choose to refuse to perform the tests, that the officer, in most cases, will take your refusal as somewhat of an admission of guilt and will use the evidence that they say they have in their possession thus far like any admissions of alcohol consumption, a refusal, your performance in driving, and any mistakes that you make in exiting the vehicle.
They probably will arrest you for DWI at that point but your performance on the tests, especially if you know that you are intoxicated when the officer pulls you over, will only hurt you and it is unlikely that performing the tests will help you as those tests are designed to make you look bad especially in those circumstances where you may be intoxicated. So it’s a difficult decision to be able to make but under any circumstances, you are never forced to take the field sobriety tests. You can always refuse to take the field sobriety tests. One caveat that I would mention is that if you have no previous criminal history and you are in Travis County, Texas and you believe that you are not extraordinarily intoxicated but think that you might be above the legal limit, it’s entirely likely that if you refuse the field sobriety test that the officers are going to go and get a search warrant for your blood after the fact and then analyze your blood for concentration of alcohol that is in it and they use that as evidence of your guilt.
That’s certainly possible but if you don’t think you are going to be over twice the legal limit and you don’t think you are very intoxicated, it may be in your best interest to cooperate with them, the reason being that there is a program in Travis County for pre-trial diversion which allows people who cooperate, have not been involved in an accident, have no prior criminal history, and who do not have any indication that drugs are involved of any kind including marijuana in their DWI; they are eligible for the pre-trial diversion which will allow them, if they are successful in completing it, to get their charge completely dismissed and to be eligible for expunction and full erasure of their criminal record.
So while my advice in the past used to be to always refuse the field sobriety tests, now it’s a little more nuanced and it really does depend situation to situation on whether or not it is a good idea for you to refuse those tests. You are always legally allowed to refuse the field sobriety tests and just refusing the field sobriety tests themselves will not have an effect on your license being suspended.
For more information on Refusing A Field Sobriety Test In Texas, a free initial consultation with our DWI defense attorneys in Austin, Texas is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (512) 601-0009 today and hold a Free consultation with our DWI Defense Lawyer.
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