Getting pulled over by a Florida police officer can be stressful even when you aren’t breaking the law. When the officer suspects that you are under the influence of alcohol, the situation can become even more intense.
You can fail a field sobriety test while sober
There are many reasons why a person might fail a field sobriety test, and it’s not necessarily because they have been drinking alcohol. Disputing the accuracy of field sobriety test evidence is a valid criminal defense strategy. In fact, some studies show that accurately administered field sobriety tests are only 81% to 91% accurate.
A physically disabled or injured person may be unable to do things like stand on one leg or walk heel-to-toe without appearing to be unbalanced. Problems with the feet, spine or legs can sometimes give a sober person an unsteady gait. Medical conditions such as an inner ear infection can also lead to equilibrium issues.
Brain injuries that affect a person’s equilibrium, speech and mood can sometimes make them appear intoxicated. There are also mental conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety disorder that can affect the way a person performs a field sobriety test.
Police officers might make mistakes while administering field sobriety tests that lead to false positives. Some field sobriety tests have been challenged after officers asked people to perform non-standard tasks. It is also a mistake for an officer to disregard a person’s physical or mental condition during a field sobriety test.
What if you refuse a field sobriety test?
You have the right to refuse to take a field sobriety test, and your refusal is not necessarily considered evidence of guilt. However, there are consequences of refusal such as a temporary license suspension.