Whether the police have ever pulled you over on suspicion of drinking and driving or not, you are probably familiar with field sobriety tests. You may not have heard that term before, but you have likely seen someone on the side of the road performing these tests while a police officer or trooper watches. Or perhaps you have had to undergo these tests yourself.
Field sobriety tests are supposed to help an officer decide if a motorist is impaired by drugs or alcohol. Standard field sobriety tests include:
- Walk and turn test, where the officer tells you to walk along a straight line, often the shoulder marker on the road, heel to toe. You must then turn around and walk back. Authorities claim this tests your ability to complete a task with divided attention.
- One-leg stand, during which you must lift one foot off the ground and count to yourself for a given period of seconds. This is supposed to test if your balance, coordination and concentration are being affected by alcohol.
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus test, or eye test. The officer stands in front of you. While they pass a finger across your gaze, you must follow it with your eyes without moving your head. Your eyes naturally jerk slightly when moving to the side, but alcohol makes these jerking motions more obvious.
Many experts have questioned the accuracy of these tests. They point out that things like a physical disability and weather conditions can cause a sober person to fail. They also rely on the officer’s training, experience and integrity for the results. In other words, they can be weak evidence that someone is drinking and driving.
Finding an ally to guide you through this
If you were arrested for DUI in Florida, you could be facing serious penalties. But you do not have to deal with the charges by yourself, without the extensive legal knowledge and real-world experience of a qualified defense attorney. Talk to a lawyer as soon as you can after your arrest.