I have been stopped on my way home from church where I took Communion so my breath smells like alcohol. The Officer wants me to do a bunch of tests and take a breath test at the station. Must I do so? - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas
I have been stopped on my way home from church where I took Communion so my breath smells like alcohol. The Officer wants me to do a bunch of tests and take a breath test at the station. Must I do so?
Your Criminal FAQ's answered by Attorney Tim James, shown here with his wife/bookkeeper Pat
In Texas you have an absolute right to refuse to take a breath test or the Field Sobriety Tests.
The three standard Field Sobriety "Tests" consist of the Officer looking into your eyes, having you follow a pen light or other stimulus and deciding whether or not your eyes "jerk" (a test only Officers can see); standing on one foot and counting; walking nine steps, heel to toe, turning around and walking back.
All these tests are probably recorded on a video tape and if the terrain is uneven or if you are uncoordinated or overly nervous, your chances of passing these tests may be pretty low. The Officer gives you no points for doing any part of the test correctly but only scores negative points when he decides that you have not performed them properly.
If you refuse to perform the tests, the officer may decide to arrest you. If you take them and the officer decides you didn't meet his standards, he will arrest you anyway. It is up to you to decide whether you should "take" the Officer's tests, but if he felt you were not intoxicated he would probably not ask you to take the tests.