Do I Have to Take a Field Sobriety Test in Florida?

Field Sobriety TestWhen you’re driving late at night on a Florida highway, few things are as stressful as seeing red and blue flashing lights in your rearview mirror. Suddenly, the only thing you can think about is the glass of wine you had at dinner, or the can of beer you enjoyed with a friend a few hours earlier.

Unfortunately, few people know their rights when it comes to dealing with the police during a traffic stop. If you consent to certain tests, such as a field sobriety test, you could unknowingly compromise your legal rights. If you have been charged with a DUI, get in touch with a Miami DUI defense lawyer immediately.

Florida’s Implied Consent Law

Like many states, Florida has an “implied consent” law, which means that everyone who gets a driver’s license is deemed to have consented to have the police measure their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) through a blood, breath, or urine test. These tests can include a breathalyzer.

If you refuse any of these tests, you face an automatic license suspension. This suspension moves quickly, so don’t wait to get a DUI defense lawyer working on your case. If you fail to act, you could lose your license.

Field Sobriety Tests in Florida

However, field sobriety tests are different, and you don’t have to consent to them. Furthermore, field sobriety tests depend on the police officer’s subjective observations, which means they are often inaccurate. These tests include:

  • Walk and turn. The walk and turn test involves walking heel-to-toe along a straight line. Many police officers tell people to walk along a painted line on the road. If you have ever tried this, you may find that it’s impossible to do even when you’re stone cold sober.
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus. This is a complicated-sounding term for the test that makes an individual follow an object with their eyes from side to side without moving their head. Police officers are looking for jerking and jumping movements in the eye, which can signify intoxication. The problem is that many people have this condition all the time, regardless of whether they have been drinking alcohol.
  • One-leg stand. The police officer will ask you to do your best pink flamingo impression. If you are just naturally uncoordinated, or you suffer from a medical condition (such as vertigo or an inner ear problem) that makes it difficult to keep you balance, this can be a challenge.

As you can probably imagine, field sobriety tests can be influenced by many factors, including external forces like the weather and the temperature. For example, if you’re trying to walk a straight line in the middle of a torrential downpour, you may struggle to stay upright, let alone walk a perfect line.

Talk to a Dade County DUI Defense Attorney about Your Case

Getting charged with a DUI can be an overwhelming experience for anyone. When the police knock on your car window, it’s easy to panic.

Furthermore, the police don’t have to tell you that you are under no obligation to perform a field sobriety test. They may put you through a battery of these tests as they gather more and more evidence against you.

If you have been charged with a DUI in Florida, you don’t have to take these charges lying down. Fight back by working with an experienced Dade County DUI defense lawyer.

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Author: M. G. Hansen

Marcia Giordano Hansen has been practicing law for almost 20 years. During this time, she has worked for the government at the Miami Dade Public Defender’s office representing indigent clients accused for state criminal offense; for an insurance defense firm wherein she represented doctors sued for medical malpractice and entities sued for negligence; and for a private white collar criminal defense firm practicing white collar crime defending individuals accused of social security fraud, Medicare fraud, drug trafficking and other federal crimes. Her wide range of knowledge in these different areas of law, coupled with the teachings of some of the most well respected legal minds in the country gives her a unique skill set which has benefited all of her clients resulting in victory and success in each case she has handled. Mrs. Hansen, in her own practice, has handled criminal defense cases, personal injury cases and real estate disputes. She speaks Spanish, French and is proficient in Italian which enables her to represent clients from all over the world. She is dedicated to the growth and success of Hansen & Taylor and prides herself in giving VIP treatment to each and every client. Marcia lives in Coral Gables with her husband and daughter. She is an avid sports fan, an animal lover and political junkie. She is also a supporter and member of the Board of Executive Relations for the Special Olympics of Miami, an organization dedicated to the well being of children and adults with disabilities.

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