What are Field Sobriety Checkpoints? Are They Legal in Texas?

Field Sobriety Checkpoints

They are not.

Texas has decided that field sobriety checkpoints are unconstitutional and therefore the state does not implement them. In 1991, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals decided that such checkpoints violated the Fourth Amendment’s protections against illegal searches and seizures.

What about in other states?

While field sobriety checkpoints or DWI roadblocks are not allowed in Texas, nearly 40 other states do conduct them. Sobriety checkpoints are traffic stops where police officers are stationed to check drivers for signs of alcohol or drug impairment. Law enforcement may stop vehicles randomly and are not allowed to specifically profile any car or individual.

If you happen to be driving in a state where field sobriety checkpoints are allowed, you should take precautions against being arrested at a checkpoint. Even if you are just visiting, you should always make plans to avoid getting behind the wheel after drinking.

Follow these tips if you happen to run into a DUI field sobriety checkpoint in another state: 

  • Do not commit a traffic violation to try and avoid a checkpoint
  • Act compliant if an officer asks for your information
  • Politely decline to give the officer any incriminating facts about your evening
  • Do not agree to take any field sobriety tests
  • Do not consent to allow an officer to search your car

Police only require a reasonable suspicion that you have been driving while intoxicated to arrest you, so if you approach a field sobriety checkpoint, refrain from erratic driving, or from giving an officer excuses or answers about your drinking. You should keep your conversation with the officer short and polite and keep from arguing or complaining.

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