In most states and with some exceptions, a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level must be .08 or higher for driving while intoxicated charges to apply. However, if a Texas police officer makes a traffic stop and suspects that a driver is acting under the influence of drugs or alcohol, field sobriety tests may be administered to determine if there is probable cause to make a DWI arrest. During such tests, a police officer is observing a person’s behavior and forms an opinion as to whether the driver is impaired because of alcohol or drug consumption. However, the driver is entitled to refuse field sobriety tests without fear of incurring a penalty
This means that it is possible to be arrested for DWI when BAC levels are below the legal limit for driving. A chemical Breathalyzer test is typically administered after an arrest. This is different from preliminary alcohol screenings that take place during a traffic stop.
A driver who is tired may behave similarly to a driver who is intoxicated
If a person agrees to take a field sobriety test, he or she must be prepared for all possible consequences, including being arrested for DWI. If someone is feeling fatigued, he or she might not perform well on a walk-and-turn or one-leg-stance test. A police officer might observe unsteadiness and consider it probable grounds to take a driver into custody for suspected drug or alcohol impairment.
What to do when a DWI arrest occurs
A motorist who knows that he or she is not intoxicated should still cooperate with police in a peaceful manner if a DWI arrest occurs. Beyond that, it is always best to request immediate legal support. This is true even if alcohol or drugs were used prior to driving. An experienced criminal defense attorney in Texas can review the details of an arrest and recommend which type of defense strategy might produce the most positive outcome, especially if the case goes to trial.