Why Submitting to a Field Sobriety Test Could Hurt More Than Help

by | Feb 12, 2020 | Attorney, Criminal Attorney, Criminal Defense Attorney, DUI

Field Sobriety Tests In Florida

Most police officers in Florida request field sobriety tests when they suspect someone is driving under the influence of alcohol. However, even if you are absolutely sober when pulled over, submitting to a field sobriety test could actually hurt your case. Here’s why.

Even If You’re Sober, Your Chances of Failing Are High

Field sobriety tests consist of the one-leg stand test, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, and the walk and turn test. They are notorious for being difficult to complete and even people who are completely sober often fail them. A failed field sobriety test could easily lead to an arrest. This is true even if a breath or blood test indicates that your blood alcohol level was under the legal limit. The officer testing you watch to see if you are able to maintain balance and follow directions. The officer also makes other observations about you and your behavior while you take the test. There are no set guidelines that indicate a “pass” or “fail,” unlike a breathalyzer test.

Field Sobriety Testing is Subjective

Because there are no set guidelines for “passing” or “failing,” interpretation of results is up to the officer. If you trip on a rock and fall, you could fail the test, even if you haven’t had anything to drink. Also, if the officer states the test directions in a confusing way and you don’t understand what you’re asked to do, you could fail the test. If anything during the test makes the officer think you may be intoxicated, there’s a good chance you’ll be arrested.

You Have the Right to Decline

Chemical testing in the state of Florida is required — because simply driving a car indicates your consent to such testing. However, field sobriety testing does not fall under this same law. You have the right to tell a police officer that you politely decline field sobriety tests. It is often going to be in your best interest to do exactly this.

Contact the Law Office of Michael T. Rabideau, P.A. Today

If you’ve been arrested for drinking and driving in Florida, get the legal advocacy you need by calling our office for a consultation with a DUI lawyer. Whether or not you took a field sobriety test, we can help you fight the charges against you. Contact us today at (561) 820-4848.