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Walkthrough & Overview of a Typical Austin DWI Arrest - Part 2 of 2

Posted by attorney Robert Keates

** Walkthrough & Overview of a Typical Austin DWI Arrest** Part 2. See guide list for part 1. The Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs): After the officer has the driver's license and other requested documents, the officer will ask the driver to step out of the car. The manner in which the driver exits the vehicle is important; any stumble or slip is sure to be mentioned in the police report as evidence of DWI. Even the slightest touching of the door upon getting out of the driver's seat, or touching the hood or frame of the car can be noted as 'leaning on the car for support due to unsteady gait.' The officer will then ask the suspected DWI driver to perform a series of physical tests called Field Sobriety Tests or FSTs. These tests are commonly thought to gauge DWI by looking at how an individual performs on the physical tests. The connection between the tests and actual intoxication is thought to be the dervied from the inability to divide attention while intoxicated, thereby causing failure or poor performance on the FSTs when inxoticated. For years this myth was taken as fact in the courtroom, until scientific analysis rebuked the data. Apparently, all FST tests, when compared to actual intixication at 0.08% or more, failed in accuracy except for three specific tests. Those tests are the walk and turn, Finger to Nose Test, One Leg Stand, Silent Count, and the ABC test. Also used by law enforcement to test DWI intoxication, although more physiological than physical, are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, or HGN DWI test. The Breath Test: The DWI Breath test is where an officer asks the driver of a suspected DWI to blow or breath into a device that calculates BAC. The device is sometimes called a Breathalyzer, although several manufacturers assemble and sell various breath test devices. The goal from a law enforcement perpective is to obtain a breath sample as close to the time of observed driving as possible, in order to attempt to show in court the driver was intoxicated above the legal limit at the time of driving. Breath tests, along with how the breath test device works, is covered more fully in the breath test section of this DWI guide. Back to the Station for Blood, Breath, or Urine: Once the officer has had the opportunity to observe all of the above and determines probable cause is met, an arrest for DWI is made, where the defendant is placed in handcuffs and taken to the station for booking and further testing. Since the breath testing devices mentioned above are not very accurate, a police station may wish to test the defendant again, this time using a blood test, another breath test with a larger more stable machine, or a urine test, although many police stations are shying away from urine testing for DWI.

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