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Is it legal for the police to make you walk the line?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2022 | DWI

If a traffic cop pulls you over and asks you to perform one of those co-ordination tests you see on cop shows, you might wonder if they are being serious.

You know you have not been drinking, and the last thing you feel like doing is pleasing them by standing on one leg, walking in a straight line or playing some game where they move their finger around in front of your face.

As dated and odd as these tests may seem, they are legal. That does not mean you need to do them.

You can refuse to do a field sobriety test

If you do not feel like doing the tests, then say so, but make sure you do it in a calm, polite manner. A court cannot penalize you for refusing, although a prosecutor might try to persuade the judge you said not because you had something to hide.

If you perform poorly in these tests, the police and prosecution may try to say it proves you were drunk. Yet, balancing on one leg can be challenging even when stone-cold sober. Medical conditions, nerves and other factors can all affect performance in the tests too.

What about Breathalyzer tests?

You do not have much choice here. Texas works on the model of “implied consent.” When you take charge of a motor vehicle, you do so on the condition that you agree to blood or breath testing should the police request it. If you refuse, the police can get a warrant to take a blood sample.

Refusing will also gain you an automatic 180-day license suspension. Again, prosecutors may try to use your noncompliance against you in court.

You can, however, challenge any testing after the event. Seek legal assistance to understand how doing so could protect your license.