In the state of Florida, anyone who holds a driver’s license is considered to have given tacit consent to submit to breath. blood, or urine tests for the purposes of determining driver impairment. If an officer has reasonable suspicion of DUI, a police officer may ask you to perform field sobriety tests to determine if the driver is under the influence.
Drivers can still refuse field sobriety tests. However, if you refuse, there could be consequences. Whatever the circumstances, if you refuse, you should speak with your attorney right away to determine what your best course of action is to minimize these consequences.
What Are Field Sobriety Tests
A field sobriety test is any physical or mental test that determines if someone is driving under the influence. There are a few standard field sobriety tests that officers in Florida use. These include:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. The officer looks for any signs of nystagmus, also known as, involuntary eye bouncing or jerking. They do that by making sure that the driver can follow an object with their gaze
- One-Leg Stand. The officer looks for any inability to balance or follow instructions that could indicate impairment
- Walk and Turn. The officer looks for inability to maintain balance or coordination that could indicate impairment
- Finger to Nose. The officer looks for physical impairment or lack of spatial awareness
- Romberg Alphabet. This test asks a person to recite the alphabet without any singing or rhythmic inflection. Sometimes the officer asks the driver to start on a letter other than “A”.
The trouble with physical field sobriety tests is that some people who have physical impairments or are not reasonably fit may not be able to complete them even when completely sober. This means that there are some circumstances where a field sobriety test may be contested in court. This is why it is essential that you speak with your attorney as soon as possible.
Consequences of Refusing
There is not a driver’s license suspension for refusing to submit to field sobriety exercises. If you refuse to take a breath test or urine test, you could lose your license for a period of time. The only consequence to refusing to submit to field sobriety exercises is that the prosecution could argue that you refused to take the test because you knew you were impaired and would, therefore, fail. However, because a driver has not typically practiced these exercises, they are typically requested late at night while a driver may be tired, and they are requested under stressful circumstances, it is almost always advisable to refuse to submit to field sobriety exercises.
If you refuse to submit to a field sobriety test and are subsequently arrested for DUI, it is absolutely imperative that you speak with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the situation. Whether you have submitted to the field sobriety test and failed or refused to submit, your attorney will help you to fight the charges and maintain your driving privileges.