Field Sobriety Tests and DWI in Conroe, TX

Conroe Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer

Police use two types of tests to help develop probable cause to arrest for DWI. There are Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) and Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). Depending on how a citizen performs on these tests can dictate whether they are arrested for DWI or not. There are various ways that a Conroe DWI attorney may be able to challenge field sobriety test results, depending on the manner in which these were administered and various other key factors.

Field Sobriety Tests (FSTS)
There are two types of tests used by police to develop probable cause to arrest and to use at trial to show signs of intoxication to the jury. Non-standardized field sobriety tests are administered without set rules or regulations and are not graded on a specific set of clues. Examples of non-standardized tests are:

  • The Rhomberg (hold head back, close eyes, and estimate 30 seconds)
  • Hand clap
  • Finger touch
  • ABC's

These tests have a place in certain investigations, especially when a citizen does not qualify to take one or more of the three standardized field sobriety tests. For example, if a person has serious leg or knee injuries they may not qualify for the walk and turn or one leg stand tests.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTS)
Standardized field sobriety tests were funded by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and the United States Department of Transportation to aid law enforcement in arresting and prosecuting DWI. Basically, SFSTS are designed to be given with a specific set of instructions and graded on a specific set of clues. If a person exhibits the required number of clues in addition to other evidence, police will arrest for DWI. There are three standardized field sobriety tests: Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), Walk and Turn (WAT), and the One Leg Stand (OLS). These are the most common tests given by police to arrest people for DWI in Conroe, Texas.

Portable Breath Testing (PBT)
Portable breath testing (PBT) devices are becoming more common. A PBT is a handheld device used by police to get a quick reading of a person’s breath alcohol content. These devices are not certified as accurate by the State of Texas and their results are not admissible into evidence, unlike an Intoxilyzer 5000, which is usually given at the jail. The real purpose of a PBT is to let the officer know if a citizen is intoxicated because of alcohol or perhaps drugs. It also is a quick way to determine if there is alcohol in a person’s system at all. While the courts do not consider the PBT reliable enough to allow the BAC readout into evidence, the fact that it showed alcohol at all is admissible. Unfortunately, many police rely on the readout even though it is not a certified instrument, thereby increasing the probability that innocent people will be arrested.

Powerful Defense Strategies from Our Firm

There are many successful attacks to the FSTs, SFSTs and PBTs. It is a matter of thoroughly investigating the case from every angle to determine what approach will likely yield the best results. Doug Atkinson has effectively dealt with these matters for his clients before and during trials, and he is ready to use his experience in challenging Conroe DWI charges to help you.

Find out more about field sobriety tests and how these may be challenged. Contact a Conroe DWI lawyer today.