Roadside Sobriety Testing
Bryan DWI Attorneys Fight Sobriety Tests – Call a Lawyer in Bryan Texas!
Roadside sobriety testing is the third phase of a DWI police investigation. The vehicle in motion is phase one and we touched on that briefly when discussing reasonable suspicion in an earlier chapter. Once someone is stopped by the officer, the second phase begins. It is called the personal contact phase and is where the police officer observes the driver face-to-face. They observe the person’s eyes, their manner of speech, whether or not they smell like an alcoholic beverage, and other possible indicators of intoxication. This is where the officer talks with the driver, generally while they’re still seated in their car, and asks them questions about where they’ve been, whether they’ve been drinking, and how much alcohol they have consumed? Following the personal contact phase, if the officer believes there is continued legal cause to detain the driver for DWI, they may ask the driver to exit the car and perform the roadside field sobriety tests. I am a lawyer in Bryan Texas and can help you challenge this investigation.
There are three standardized tests police officers may administer in any given investigation. The first is called the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. The second test is called the Walk and Turn. The third test is called the One Leg Stand. These are standardized tests, which require the officer to administer and score them in a very specific way. Other non-standardized tests may be conducted, as well. Examples are counting or alphabet tests, touching finger-to- nose, or standing with eyes closed and head tilted back. This is called the Romberg test. Lastly, some police agencies use a portable breath test device (PBT). Even though the PBT results are not admissible in court, the police officer may ask someone to blow into the PBT to determine whether or not there’s evidence of alcohol consumption. Finally, a person pulled-over is not required to submit to any field sobriety testing. However, sometimes good performance on roadside tests can be the difference between winning a DWI or getting convicted. Bryan DWI attorneys can fight for you and defend against these tests.
Do Officers Consider Disabilities When Administering Brazos County Roadside Tests?
The short answer is no. Police officers may document what they know about a person’s physical disabilities. Unfortunately, officers rarely take those factors into account when scoring the sobriety tests. Remember, the officer is hoping to develop probable cause to justify an arrest. Once the arrest occurs, the officer is permitted to request breath or blood samples. That is their endgame. They want to obtain chemical test results. As a result, the officer does not generally take disabilities into consideration, although as a defensive issue, we can raise those disability issues down the road to discredit their opinions about intoxication. Bryan DWI attorneys can show the judge or jury that your physical disabilities caused you to perform poorly on these tests.
Roadside tests are generally admissible in court. Although officers may incorrectly administer the tests, judges will permit them to testify about their administration in scoring the tests and allow them to state an opinion about whether they believed the person was intoxicated based on those test results. However, we will zealously challenge the officer’s incorrect administration of any field sobriety test to shed doubt upon their opinion about intoxication.
How Does The Officer Proceed If Someone Refuses Bryan-College Station Roadside Tests?
A police officer will typically arrest someone after they refuse to perform the roadside tests. That does not mean the person should attempt to perform the tests. It means the person should expect to get arrested, regardless of whether they perform them or not. When a person refuses to submit to the tests, the officer will continue their investigation. I’ve heard officers testify that a person’s refusal to submit to tests was evidence of intoxication in-and- of itself. But remember, the officer is only interested in establishing probable cause and they will twist the facts any way they can to establish it. Please refer back to our discussion about what to do when you’re being investigated for DWI. I’m a lawyer in Bryan Texas and I can help!
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