What Happens If I Don’t Pass Field Sobriety Tests?

If you have been stopped for a traffic violation, the police officer may ask you to perform field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests provide officers with a way to assess the possibility or likelihood of driving while intoxicated or impaired. The officer may ask you to step out of the vehicle if has any reason to think that you may be impaired. These tests are administered as a preliminary step, prior to a DUI arrest.

Types of Field Sobriety Tests

There are a wide variety of field sobriety tests. The tests are used randomly by law enforcement. These tests are performed at the location of the traffic stop, typically at the side of the road.

  • HGM – (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus) – In this test, the eyes are examined for signs of impairment. The officer will ask you to follow a moving light with your eyes. Reactions are slower and often more jerky in a person who is impaired.
  • Straight Line Walk – The driver is provided a set of instructions to walk a straight line. The instructions must be followed properly and the person must walk without stumbling.
  • One-leg Stand – This test requires the driver to stand on one leg while they hold the other leg out in front, above the ground. Holding for about a half-minute is required, without having to put the leg down.
  • Say the Alphabet – This easy test requires the driver to recite the alphabet. If a person is impaired they may skip letters or be unable to remember all the letters.

Implied Consent

Florida has an implied consent law in place. Implied consent means that you must submit to a DUI test if requested to do so by a member of law enforcement. Implied consent applies to formal DUI testing such as a breathalyzer test, blood test, or urine test. Implied consent does not apply to field sobriety tests. However, in many cases the officer may already have some reasons to believe that the driver is impaired. If the driver does not agree to the field tests the officer may skip this step and can put the driver under arrest for suspicion of DUI. Once in custody, the driver will then be given formal DUI tests.

Fighting DUI Charges

If you have been charged with DUI it is important to know that you have the opportunity to fight these charges. A DUI conviction carries penalties as well as points on your driver’s license. It is best to seek help from an experienced DUI attorney quickly after the occurrence. Your attorney will examine all the information regarding your case and present the best possible defense. Contact your lawyer as soon as possible for the best outcome.