Mastering the Art of Passing a Field Sobriety Test in Texas: A Comprehensive Guide

To keep Texas’ roadways safe police officers must investigate and arrest drunk drivers.

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Officers often suspect a person is driving while intoxicated when they see traffic violations, such as speeding, swerving or running a red light.

Signs of Impairment

After the officer stops the person, they are looking for signs of impairment like slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, an odor of alcohol, or they may observe alcohol or drug paraphernalia in the vehicle.

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Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

If an officer suspects someone is impaired, the officer will conduct one of several types of field sobriety tests beginning with the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, or the HGN. HGN is an involuntary jerking of the eyes, which happens to everyone when they look to the side. When a person is drunk, the action is more pronounced. The officer tests this by asking the person to follow the tip of their eyes while the officer passes the pin from side to side.

Balance Checks

Next balance is put to the test with a walk and turn. The officer will demonstrate and then ask the person to walk heel to toe along a straight line and return. An impaired person won't be able to keep their balance or touch heel to toe.

Then there is another balance check with the one-leg stand test. During this portion, the person balances on one leg while holding the other leg out, looking at their feet, and counting. If a person sways, hops, or uses their arms to balance they are possibly intoxicated. 

We hope these explanations are helpful. Remember, this isn't the kind of test you can study for and if you ever have to complete it we hope you're sober and you pass with flying colors. If you or someone you know is impaired, please do not drive and find another way home.


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