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Texas Field Sobriety Tests

Criminal Defense Lawyer in Conroe

When a driver is suspected of intoxication, law enforcement may often choose to perform field sobriety tests. The results of these tests are generally used as probable cause for an arrest, so then a more accurate chemical test may be required. Field sobriety tests; however, are quite unreliable due to the countless outside factors that can affect the results. Due to the unreliability, it is often possible to fight against the results of these tests. If you are facing DWI charges in Texas, seek legal representation from a Conroe criminal defense attorney who has experience in DWI cases. Douglas W. Atkinson, Attorney at Law has been assisting individuals in their criminal cases for 15 years and he may be able to help you.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

Texas uses the three standardized and approved tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These tests include:

The One Leg Stand: In order to test a driver's ability to balance and divide their attention between physical and mental tasks, the one leg stand test is used. This requires the driver to stand with one leg on the ground and lift the other about six inches off the ground while keeping their eyes on their foot. During this process, the driver will also have to count '1,001, 1,002, 1,003' and so on. After about 30 seconds, the officer will instruct the suspect to lower their foot. During this test, the officer will look for signs of intoxication, such as swaying, using arms for balance, hopping, or placing their foot on the ground.

The Walk and Turn Test: This test also measures the ability of the suspect to perform both physical and cognitive tasks at the same time. This test involves:

  • Taking nine steps, walking heel-to-toe, on a straight line
  • Turning on one foot
  • Taking nine more steps, heel-to-toe, to return to the start

During this test, the driver is required to keep their hands at their side and watch their feet while counting their steps out loud. As the suspect performs the test, the officer will look for signs of intoxication. Some signs may be stepping off the line, taking the wrong number of steps, stopping, not walking heel-to-toe, using arms to catch balance, etc.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: This test will look into the jerking fashion of a suspect's eyes. The driver will keep their head still while following a stimulus with their only their eyes. The officer will look for any of the following things in order to determine intoxication:

  • Lack of Smooth Pursuit- this means that the eyes bounced even though the stimulus was moving smoothly.
  • Distinct Nystagmus at Maximum Deviation- Nystagmus is the jerking of the eye and if the eye is held at the maximum deviation for at least four seconds, Nystagmus may be a sign of intoxication.
  • Onset of Nystagmus Prior to 45 Degrees- The degree of your eye when Nystagmus (jerking) begins is thought to relate to intoxication. If the jerking starts before your eyes reach a 45 degree angle, you may be considered intoxicated.

Searching for a lawyer for a DWI case in Conroe, TX?

If you have been arrested for a DWI in Texas, you need the best criminal defense attorney in Conroe to defend you. There are many defenses that can be made against the result of a field sobriety test due to the lack of reliability and validity found in the results. Contact Douglas W. Atkinson, Attorney at Law for the experienced representation that you need. He has years of experience defending against DWI charges, call (936)-681-0031 to get started building your defense.