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Experienced Counsel Matters in Cases Involving Field Sobriety Tests

In Texas, the State will often try to prove that a DWI suspect lost his or her normal use of physical faculties – and is therefore guilty of DWI – by introducing the results of field sobriety tests (FSTs) at trial. FSTs most commonly include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the one leg stand test, and the walk and turn test.

Many DWI cases are won or lost based on a suspect’s performance on these tests. However, a poor performance on FSTs does not necessarily mean a conviction. In order for a suspect’s performance on FSTs to even be heard by a jury, the State needs to prove that the tests were administered in compliance with detailed standards set out by the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA). In other words, if FSTs weren’t administered properly, then they can’t be considered by the jury because they are not relevant to the issue of impairment.

The guidelines officers must follow in administering FSTs can be quite technical and therefore, it is important to have an experienced DUI or DWI lawyer who is more familiar with FSTs than the officers themselves. An experienced DUI or DWI lawyer will be able to effectively challenge the officer’s administration of FSTs and possibly, keep them out of trial entirely. If you have been arrested for DUI or DWI in the Houston area and have been subjected to FSTs, the lawyers at Scheiner Law Group are an excellent choice.