Do I Have to Comply With Field Sobriety Tests?

Getting pulled over by the police is something that can make anyone nervous and scared. When the officer thinks you could be intoxicated, the entire traffic stop goes to a new level. The officer will likely ask you to step out of your vehicle and will begin to assess you for signs of impairment. The first step in the assessment is to have the driver perform field sobriety tests. These tests are designed to provide the officer with a determination as to whether to proceed with further DUI testing.

What are Field Sobriety Tests?

Field sobriety tests, FSTs, are utilized by police officers as a tool to help them determine whether a driver might be driving under the influence, or DUI. Officers receive training to administer the tests. The tests are only utilized for suspected drunk driving, not for suspected drug impairment. FSTs are guidelines that police use to decide whether they have cause to believe you are DUI. The officer will decide whether you are likely DUI and if so, they will continue with further tests including a breath, blood, or urine test.

Types of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

There are three major standardized field sobriety tests. These include:

  • Walk and Turn
  • One Leg Stand
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

The walk and turn test requires you to take nine steps heel-to-toe in one direction, turn, and walk back. With the one-leg stand, you must hold up one leg while you count out loud. The horizontal gaze test requires you to follow a light with your eyes while the officer observes your eye movements. These are tests that you cannot practice and the results are supposed to give the officer an idea of whether you are impaired. The individual must not only perform the exercises well, but must also follow directions.

FSTs: What are My Rights?

Florida law requires you to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test if requested to do so by a law enforcement officer. This law is commonly called implied consent. You agree to submit to testing when you obtain a Florida driver’s license. The law does not specifically require you to take field sobriety tests. However, it is important to keep in mind that if you refuse, the officer will use his or her discretion to move forward with a breath test. There are legal consequences of refusing to submit to a DUI test including an automatic one-year suspension of your driving privileges, regardless of the outcome of the DUI case.

If you are charged with DUI, it is imperative to contact an experienced Brevard County DUI attorney. You may want to request your own DUI test, which you can pay a professional to complete. This test could help to prove your innocence. Your attorney will review the details of how the tests were administered and evaluated. In some cases, the testing could be faulty and therefore not acceptable as evidence of DUI. Contact our legal team at Henderson Legal Group to discuss your DUI case today.


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