Field Sobriety Tests in Florida DUI Cases: Standardized Procedures and Legal Issues

Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are commonly used by law enforcement officers in Florida to determine if a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, these tests could be more foolproof, and several factors can affect their accuracy. In this blog post, we will discuss the standardized procedures for FSTs in Florida, the legal issues surrounding their use, and how a skilled criminal defense attorney can help you challenge the results of these tests in court.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in Florida

Three standardized FSTs are widely accepted and used by law enforcement agencies across the United States, including Florida. These tests were developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and are designed to assess a driver's level of impairment. The three tests are:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test
  • Walk-and-Turn (WAT) Test
  • One-Leg Stand (OLS) Test

It is important to note that these tests are not 100% accurate and can be affected by various factors, such as medical conditions, fatigue, and even the officer's training and experience in administering the tests.

Legal Issues Surrounding Field Sobriety Tests

Several legal issues can arise when it comes to FSTs in DUI cases. Some of the most common issues include:

  • Probable Cause: For an officer to administer a field sobriety test, they must have probable cause to believe that the driver is impaired. This can include erratic driving, slurred speech, or the smell of alcohol on the driver's breath. If the officer did not have probable cause, the test results may be deemed inadmissible in court.
  • Test Administration: If the officer did not administer the FSTs according to the NHTSA's standardized procedures, the results may be considered unreliable and challenged in court.
  • Driver's Rights: Drivers have the right to refuse field sobriety tests. However, refusing these tests can automatically suspend your driver's license under Florida's implied consent law. It is essential to understand your rights and the consequences of refusing FSTs.

Challenging Field Sobriety Test Results in Court

If you have been charged with a DUI in Florida based on field sobriety test results, consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you challenge the test results and protect your rights is crucial. At Thompson Law, P.A., our team of skilled attorneys can assist you in several ways:

  • Evaluating the Officer's Probable Cause: We will carefully review the circumstances leading up to your FST to determine if the officer had probable cause to administer the test. If we find that the officer did not have probable cause, we can argue for excluding the test results from your case.
  • Examining Test Administration: Our attorneys will scrutinize the officer's administration of the FSTs to ensure they were conducted according to the standardized procedures. If we find any discrepancies, we can challenge the reliability of the test results.
  • Presenting Alternative Explanations: We will work with you to present alternative explanations for your FST performance, such as medical conditions, fatigue, or uneven road surfaces, that could have affected the test results.

Don't let a field sobriety test result determine the outcome of your DUI case. The experienced attorneys at Thompson Law, P.A. can help you challenge the test results and fight for your rights. Let us help you navigate the complex legal issues surrounding field sobriety tests in Florida DUI cases.

Contact Thompson Law, P.A. today to schedule a FREE consultation!