Are you the type of person who gets nervous when taking a test? This is commonly referred to as “text anxiety,” and is common among students in Texas and across the country. It’s not always a written examination that causes nervousness. For instance, a police officer might ask you to take a DWI roadside test during a traffic stop. If you get nervous, you might perform poorly, even if you’re sober. Failing a field sobriety test could land you in jail.
There are three basic types of DWI tests that Texas police officers use to determine if they have probable cause to arrest a driver for suspected intoxication. The more you know about such tests ahead of time, the less stressful a traffic stop might be if you are asked to take one.
The walk-and-turn DWI test is common in Texas
If a police officer believes you have been operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, he or she must determine probable cause to take you into custody. You may be asked to take a walk-and-turn test, which is a test that measures your ability to follow a list of simple instructions. It also enables a police officer to observe your coordination and balance skills at the time.
To perform a walk-and-turn test, you would be asked to hold your arms out at shoulder height while walking a straight a line. You must place the heel of one foot at the toe of the other with every step. If you trip, teeter or fall, you fail. If you do not follow the instructions correctly, you fail. Failing is probable cause to arrest you for drunk driving.
A horizontal gaze nystagmus test monitors eye movement
If a Texas police officer asks you to track his or her finger, pen or other object vertically and horizontally without moving your head, you are taking what’s known as a “horizontal gaze nystagmus test.” The eyes of an individual who is intoxicated may shake erratically before reaching their maximum peripheral vantage point. If the officer thinks you are failing to track the object in a smooth manner, you will fail the test.
How are you at standing on one leg?
If you’re a clumsy person or have difficulty with balance exercises, you might want to think twice before agreeing to take a one-leg stance test during a DWI traffic stop. Not only might you have to balance on one leg for 30 seconds or more, you’ll probably have to do so while tilting your head toward the sky and reciting the alphabet or counting backwards or some other verbal sequence activity. If you fail the test, you might be taken to a county jail.
Things to remember if you are pulled over for a DWI stop
You’re not obligated to comply if a Texas police officer asks you to take a DWI field sobriety test. Non-compliance doesn’t guarantee that you won’t be arrested or charged with a crime. Penalties under conviction are severe, which is why it’s best to obtain legal support if you’re taken into police custody for suspected drunk driving.