If you have been stopped by a police officer you may be asked to submit to field sobriety tests, or FSTs. FSTs are given by law enforcement officers at the location where you have been stopped. If a police officer feels that you may be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he may ask you to take one or more FSTs. These tests are performed at the side of the road and are often conducted prior to performing a blood alcohol content (BAC) test. FSTs are used as a way for officers to decide whether to pursue further action against a driver suspected of DUI. While completing field sobriety tests is not mandatory, refusing to do is sure to make the police officer irritated.

Types of Field Sobriety Tests

You’ve likely heard of some of the most common types of FSTs given by police officers. These are actually very simple tests but they have been proven to be more difficult for impaired people to perform. Some of the most common FSTs include:

  • Standing on one foot
  • Walking a straight line
  • Touching a finger to the nose
  • Reciting the alphabet

Tests such as these are subjective, meaning that the results of your performance are based on the judgment of the officer. For this reason, FSTs aren’t considered scientific evidence of DUI. They are used mainly as a gateway to further testing. If you have “failed” any of these field tests for sobriety the police officer will advance to the next step – testing for DUI. Sometimes, a driver will be tested for DUI at scene using a breathalyzer while other times the testing will be done by blood or urine at the police station.

What is a Blood Alcohol Test?

Blood alcohol content is the amount of alcohol present in the bloodstream and is measured as a percentage. In Florida, the legal limit is 0.08%. If you are tested and found with a BAC of over 0.08% you will be charged with DUI. There are two main ways to test BAC, urine testing and blood testing. Many people are unaware that these tests could be flawed either in how they were administered or how the results were interpreted. The best thing to do is to request your own BAC testing. While you will need to pay for this, you will have the opportunity to send the test to a laboratory of your choice and the results can then be compared to those obtained by law enforcement.

Can I Refuse to Take A BAC Test?

Florida has enacted an implied consent law. By accepting the terms of your driver’s license you have agreed to submit to BAC testing if requested to do so by a member of law enforcement. Refusal to submit to a BAC test will result in additional separate charges that include a mandatory driver’s license suspension.  Additionally, refusal to take the test can be used against you in your DUI court case. Typically it’s best to submit to the test, even if you know you’ve been drinking. Once charged with DUI you can seek assistance from an experienced DUI attorney. Your lawyer will review every aspect of your case and may be able to have your charges reduced. If that isn’t possible your attorney will provide your defense in court. Remember that penalties for DUI do not occur unless you are convicted.