Yes, you may legally refuse to take a field sobriety test in Texas. In our opinion, based on decades of experience handling DWI cases, you should refuse.
How Field Sobriety Tests Are Usually Conducted
When an officer pulls you over and suspects you may be driving while intoxicated, the investigation begins with the officer’s observations. They look for bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and the smell of alcohol.
Officers usually also ask some innocent-sounding questions like, “Where are you headed tonight” or “Had anything to drink tonight?”
If the officer thinks more investigation is needed, they may ask you to step out of the car. You should always obey this instruction; do not refuse to get out of your car, and keep your hands where the officer can see them.
Once you’re out of the car, the officer will probably say they’re “going to do a couple of tests to make sure you’re okay to drive.” Officers use lines like this to get drivers to submit to field sobriety tests without directly asking them to consent to the test.
They hope you’ll just go along with it. Even though the officer acts as though you must take the tests, you are not legally obligated to take them. If the officer tries to start a field sobriety test, you should politely decline.
How to Politely Refuse a Field Sobriety Test in Texas
As soon as the officer asks you to stand on one leg, walk in a straight line or wants to test your eyes, that’s the point where you should refuse. But you should not be argumentative or belligerent about it.
Don’t raise your voice. Don’t tell the officer the tests are junk and you’re too smart for them. Remember, the officer’s body camera is recording all the audio and video of the incident.
Instead of getting aggravated, simply inform the officer that you’re choosing not to take any field sobriety tests. Calmly saying something like, “Officer, I understand I have the right to refuse these tests, and I am exercising that right.”
Can I Refuse Breath and Blood Tests in Texas?
Yes, you have the right to refuse any requests for breath and blood tests. Once you refuse, the officer must obtain a search warrant to administer the test. If the officer does get a warrant, don’t fight the blood draw. Allow your blood to be taken.
You will likely be transported to jail, then to a hospital where blood is drawn, then back to jail. A bond will be set, or you might be released on personal recognizance.
Will You Get Arrested for Refusing to Perform Field Sobriety Tests?
The officer might arrest you for DWI after you refuse the tests, but they’ll be arresting you because they think they have enough evidence without the tests. They cannot arrest you simply because you refuse to take the tests; refusal itself is not a crime. However, your driver’s license can be suspended for 180 days if the officer arrests you.
Contact Our Fort Worth DWI Defense Attorneys for a Free Consultation
Arrested for drunk driving? Call a Fort Worth DWI lawyer at Lee & Wood, LP at 817-678-6771 or email us as soon as possible. We handle DWI cases in Tarrant County, Dallas County, Denton County and all surrounding areas.