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Can I Refuse to Perform a Sobriety Field Test in Florida?

December 15, 2021
By The Wiseman Law Firm

Although you’ve may have never been pulled over before, you probably know what field sobriety tests are. These are typically three physical tasks that a police officer may ask someone to perform after they’ve been pulled over on the suspicion of DUI. All are non-invasive and used by police officers to determine probable cause for an arrest if they believe a driver is intoxicated.

This leads many people to believe that they must perform field sobriety tests, or they risk getting arrested anyway. It’s common for people to believe that they don’t have the right to refuse these tests, but that just isn’t the case.

What Are the Three Field Sobriety Tests?

In Florida, police officers use a standard set of three field sobriety tests to determine probable cause for a DUI arrest.

These tests include the following:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: The police officer asks the driver to track a moving pen, flashlight, or another object with their eyes. The officer is looking for a “jerking” motion in the eyes’ movement that could be a sign of intoxication.
  • Walk-and-Turn: The police officer asks the driver to walk nine steps, heel-to-toe, before turning around about walking back in the same manner. The officer is looking for balance issues that may indicate intoxication.
  • One-Leg Stand Test: An officer asks the driver to stand on one leg with the other six inches in the air. The officer will then ask the driver to count backwards from 1,000, stopping when the officer tells them to do so. Sometimes this task can last as long as 30 seconds or until the driver loses balance.

Remember that you are not legally required to submit to these tests, even if a police officer demands you comply or strongly suggests that you should comply. Not only are these tests unscientific in their nature, but they are also not conducted by unbiased parties. Ultimately, the police officer is using these tests to confirm his or her suspicion that you are intoxicated.

Implied Consent in Florida

When you got your driver’s license in Florida, you gave your implied consent to submit to chemical tests of your breath and/or blood to determine your blood alcohol content when you are under arrest for DUI.

Unlike failing to comply with a field sobriety test, failure to comply with a test of your breath or blood is illegal and can result in a license suspension – even if you aren’t charged with DUI or aren’t convicted of it.

We Can Fight Your DUI Charges!

Our criminal defense attorney at The Wiseman Law Firm can help you fight your DUI charges! We know that DUI charges aren’t always as rock-solid as they seem, especially when a police officer’s arrest was based on a field sobriety test.

With assistance from our firm, you may be able to secure a favorable outcome to your legal situation that you may not have thought was possible.

Learn more about how our legal assistance can help by contacting us online now!

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