If a police officer suspects that you are intoxicated while driving, the officer may pull you over to investigate further. Sometimes the police may require a breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test to determine if you have coordination challenges that could be linked to a drunken state.
There are various such tests that may be used as evidence against someone charged with DWI, and a skilled lawyer may be able to help you fight any charges based on the outcome of these tests. These matters are often complicated, so talking to legal counsel about field sobriety tests in Odessa DWI cases may be in your best interests.
Types of Field Sobriety Tests
When an officer pulls over a driver to administer field sobriety tests, the officer is the person who decides if the driver passed or failed. The decision can be highly subjective, and a defendant may wish to aggressive dispute any allegations of failing a test.
Commons DWI field sobriety tests administered in Odessa include:
- Standing on one leg
- Walk and turn
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus
Standing on One Leg Examination
This test requires that a person stand on one foot and keep the other around six inches off the ground. The officer may require the driver to count off seconds out loud until the officer is satisfied and says the driver may lower their foot.
From this test, the police are looking for swaying, use of arms to help balance, hopping, and putting the foot on the ground without being directed. If the law enforcement officer believes the driver failed the test, they may charge the driver with DWI.
Walk and Turn
The primary component of this test is to determine if the driver can walk in a straight line. Typically the driver must walk toe-to-heel, turn on one foot, and repeat the process in the other direction. If the driver falls, steps out of line, shakes, or exhibits any evidence of instability, the officer may allege the driver was driving drunk.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
This is a highly specialized test which most officers do not have adequate training for. Typically, only a medical expert can administer this test accurately.
This test examines any involuntary jerking of the eye when people look to the side, based on the theory that this motion becomes more extreme when a person is intoxicated. The officer may attempt to determine if the driver’s eyes cannot track a moving object smoothly.
How a Lawyer Could Help
DWI cases tend to be face-specific, so an attorney may be helpful in arguing that the police made a mistake or misinterpreted test results. Officers are human and may not administer tests correctly, which could lead to an unfair allegation of intoxicated driving.
A seasoned lawyer may be able to challenge any finding by an officer. If the driver refused to take the test, though, the officer might automatically charge that driver with DWI. The first time the court convicts a driver of DWI, they may face up to 60 days in jail, as described in Texas Penal Code §49.04.
Working Together on Odessa DWI Cases Involving Field Sobriety Tests
You may not know the best course of action if the police say you failed a field sobriety test, but a skilled attorney may help make sure the court knows your situation and what was going on the day the officer pulled you over. Speak with someone who understands how field sobriety tests in Odessa DWI cases may be utilized or misrepresented. You are not alone, but legal advice may make a marked difference in your case’s outcome.