How to Recognize and Defend Your Legal Rights During DUI Checkpoints

The significance of understanding your legal rights during a DUI checkpoint cannot be understated. Every day across America, people are arrested as a result of failing sobriety tests. It’s alarming when you recognize the scope of this issue. By knowing the fundamentals of the field sobriety test law, you can safeguard your rights and make informed decisions. Visit us to learn more about how a proficient DWI lawyer can make a difference in your case.

What is the Field Sobriety Test Law?

At its core, the field sobriety test law centers around the legal procedures applied when law enforcement agencies suspect a driver is impaired. The law outlines the tests officers can administer, and the rights of the suspected driver. Partaking fully in these tests is not necessarily mandatory, and understanding your rights is crucial during these potentially stressful situations.

Types of Field Sobriety Tests

The types of sobriety tests administered might vary in different jurisdictions. Nonetheless, there are three categories commonly used at checkpoints:

Standardized Field Sobriety Testing

Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) is a series of three tests approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to establish probable cause for impaired driving charges. The SFST guide maps out the specifics of the test.

Breathalyzer Test Law

The breathalyzer test is designed to measure the blood alcohol content (BAC) directly from the breath. While declining to take a breathalyzer test might result in serious consequences, understanding the Breathalyzer test law is crucial for every motorist.

Preliminary Alcohol Screening

On our blog, we explore more about Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) tests, a breath test conducted at the site where the driving behavior was observed.

Knowing your rights during sobriety tests is a key component of your lawful protection as a driver. By familiarizing yourself with the following aspects, you can navigate DUI checkpoints with peace of mind.

Refusing Field Sobriety Test

While the consequences of refusing a sobriety test can be severe, including mandatory suspension of your license, offenders are indeed permitted to refuse participation under certain circumstances. Read more here!

Standard Field Sobriety Test

The Standard Field Sobriety test is a vital tool used by law enforcement to maintain highway safety. But as is the case with any test, there’s a margin of error. 

By familiarizing yourself with these points, you can keep your rights intact next time you’re stopped at a DUI checkpoint. To stay well-informed about your rights, explore resources such as the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and ongoing research by leading authorities such as the CDC.

Procedures of the Field Sobriety Test

Understanding the methods law enforcement officers use during a field sobriety test can be beneficial for you. These tests generally involve three separate evaluations: the balance test, the walk and turn test and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test. Failing any of these tests can lead to serious penalties.

Balance Test DUI

The balance test, or the one-leg stand test, is fairly straightforward. A police officer will instruct the suspect to stand on one leg while counting aloud. The officer looks for signs of impairment such as swaying, hopping, or putting the foot down. Information on how to challenge the validity of a balance test can be found in our blog.

Walk and Turn Test DUI

The officer instructs the suspected individual to take a number of steps, heel-to-toe, along a straight line, then turn on one foot and return in the same manner. The officer watches for imbalance, inability to stay on the line, or stops while walking. Mistakes can be equated to impairment by alcohol or drugs, which might justify arrest.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test

In this test, an officer moves an object or finger horizontally in front of the suspect’s eyes and looks for jerking movements, which might be a sign of impairment. However, some medical conditions can also cause these eye movements. An understanding DWI lawyer can challenge the test’s validity.

DUI Checkpoint Laws

DUI checkpoint laws are designed to detect and dissuade drunk driving. Importantly, these laws differ by state and enforcement is guided by specific rules on how checkpoints are conducted. Understanding how these laws apply in Texas can mean the difference between a DWI conviction and maintaining your freedom.

Drunk Driving Defense

Crafting a concrete drunk driving defense strategy can be a complicated process. It requires a firm grasp on DWI laws and the capability to challenge the validity of evidence, including field sobriety and breathalyzer test results. An experienced DWI lawyer will have the knowledge necessary to navigate these cases and stand up for your rights.


Navigating a field sobriety test can be stressful, but understanding these tests, the law, and your rights can make a significant difference. By leveraging the expertise of our Houston DWI attorneys, you will have a professional who understands DWI laws and has the skills to challenge the validity of any filed charges.

Remember, DUI is not just a local problem but a widespread issue. To learn more about safe drinking habits, visit the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. To understand the scale of impaired driving, check out this page by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Finally, for an analysis of DUI consequences, head to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Stay informed and stay safe on the roads.

Get ahead by understanding your rights during DUI checkpoints and potential defense strategies. Call us now to connect with our experienced DWI lawyers who can guide you through this complex area. For more insights, visit our blog and contact us now to discuss your specific situation.

DUI Checkpoints - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Field sobriety test law refers to the laws that regulate the administration and interpretation of roadside tests performed by law enforcement officers to determine whether a driver is impaired due to consumption of alcohol or drugs.

While refusal to undergo a field sobriety test can lead to serious consequences such as a suspended license, it’s your right to refuse to take part in field sobriety tests. However, refusal might be used as evidence of your impairment in court.

The accurateness of field sobriety tests largely depends on the test administered and how it was executed. The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST), for instance, is widely recognized as a reliable indicator of impairment.

Standard Field Sobriety Tests generally consist of three evaluations – the one-leg stand test, the walk and turn test, and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test.

While technically possible, it’s generally strongly advised against. DWI laws are intricate and might require a strategist with a firm grasp on the field sobriety test law and the ability to challenge evidence. An experienced DWI lawyer will have the knowledge to navigate these cases, present defenses, and stand up for your rights.