Field Sobriety Tests

Defend against false results! Call our Denton County DWI Attorneys at (940) 580-2899.

There are approximately a dozen exercises used by law enforcement as field sobriety tests. The most common include the modified position of attention test, touching finger-to-nose, reciting the alphabet, rapidly touching four fingers to the thumb, and the rapidly alternating hand pat. Contrary to popular belief, these tests are not legally required; you may decline to take them. If you do take them, our experienced Denton County DWI lawyers can work to demonstrate for a jury that these field sobriety tests are designed for failure.

The federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has funded research which found that only three tests are effective in detecting intoxication:

  • Walk-and-turn
  • One-leg-stand
  • Nystagmus

According to these studies, all other field sobriety tests are unreliable and should not be used. Since the federal findings and recommendations, law enforcement agencies across the country have been adopting the battery of three so-called "standardized field sobriety tests." Most law enforcement agencies in Texas, however, have resisted the change. This permits them to continue to use the tests they prefer, avoid being held up to federal standards in administration of the three tests, and avoid the use of "objective scoring" (using a scoring system rather than just the officer's subjective opinion).

Begin Your Defense Today: Contact the Law Offices of Tim Powers

Many Texas law enforcement agencies, including the Texas Department of Public Safety, are increasingly using small, handheld breath testers such as a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (commonly referred to as PAS) or Portable Breath Test (commonly referred to as a PBT) devices. A more recent permutation of the PAS device is the so-called EPAS, or Evidential Portable Alcohol System, which is basically a more sophisticated version of the PAS and intended to overcome legal objections to admissibility in evidence. These relatively primitive devices were designed as a field sobriety test to assist the officer in deciding whether there is probable cause to arrest and take the suspect to the station for more sophisticated breath or blood testing. Unfortunately, however, many judges in Texas are permitting prosecutors to use the PAS results as evidence of blood alcohol concentration at trial (for purposes of probable cause) – and in some cases, as the only blood alcohol evidence. It should be realized that, as with field sobriety tests, submitting to a field PBT test is not legally required.

Our firm understands the defenses that can help you challenge field sobriety tests and their validity. We work on your behalf to help remove any false findings from evidence, allowing for as fair a trial as possible. When you schedule your free case evaluation with our firm, you can be confident that we will answer all of your questions and concerns so you can move forward in your case.

Call the Law Offices of Tim Powers today!

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