Field Sobriety Test Defense Lawyer in Miami
Challenging Field Sobriety Test Results in Fort Lauderdale
Most everyone is familiar with the field sobriety tests used by law enforcement. If you are stopped for a DUI, these tests may be used to determine if you have exceeded the legal blood alcohol limit in Florida. If the officer believes that you have failed one or all of these tests, this will give them probable cause to arrest you.
The problem is that field sobriety tests are inherently flawed. Any minor error by the alleged offender or the officer administering the test can produce faulty results.
A serious criminal defense attorney like Evan Hoffman of The Hoffman Firm knows to challenge field sobriety test results in court. Our field sobriety test defense lawyer in Miami can fight for you if you have been arrested for DUI.
Common Types of Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests are considered “divided attention exercises.” They test an individual’s ability to listen to and comprehend what is being asked of them as well as their actual ability to perform the exercises as instructed.
Some of the most commonly used field sobriety tests include:
- Finger to nose: For this test, a law enforcement agent will instruct the test taker to close his or her eyes, tilt his head backward, and touch the tip of his or her nose with one finger. The agent may require the test taker to repeat this action several times in order to observe the individual’s fluidity while performing the act. Any irregular eye movement, imbalance, lack of coordination, or other cues indicating intoxication will be noted.
- One leg stand: For this test, a law enforcement agent will instruct the test taker to lift one leg off of the ground approximately six inches. With both arms straight and one foot raised, the test-taker will be required to count until stopped by the agent. As the test-taker performs these tasks, the agent will take note of any irregular lack of coordination, swaying, slurred speech, or any other signs of intoxication.
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test: While keeping their head steady and using their eyes alone, test takers must follow the administrator’s movement of an object 12-15 inches in front of the test taker’s nose. The administrator will take note of any delayed or jerked eye movement and any lack of ability to keep one’s head steady. Before conducting this test, an administrator is required to examine the test taker’s eye movement, any eye conditions, or other prohibiting facts that would affect the test’s accuracy. The reasoning behind this test is that certain drug and alcohol use will result in an individual’s inability to exert proper control of his or her eyes. This lack of control will result in uncontrollable eye jerking—nystagmus—which affects a person’s ability to properly operate a motor vehicle.
- Walk and turn: After the test taker is given proper instructions, he or she must walk heel-to-toe in a straight line, with arms lowered, to a specific point. Once the point is reached, and while remaining in a straight line, the test taker must turn around and walk heel-to-toe to the point of origin. An administrator will make note of any display of poor coordination, balance, inability to keep one’s arms stable, or any other signs of intoxication.
Many people who agree to perform field sobriety tests often think that they performed fine and are surprised when police officers note various errors that constitute failure. Numerous NHTSA studies over the years have shown that field sobriety tests do not have flawless accuracy rates, and many external factors can often cause or contribute to an alleged offender supposedly failing these types of tests.
A few of the most common issues with field sobriety tests include but are not limited to:
- Improper instructions
- Lack of a baseline
- Medical conditions
- Uneven testing surfaces
- Weather conditions
Consult with Our Miami Field Sobriety Test Defense Attorney
If you have failed a field sobriety test, you may be facing severe penalties for driving under the influence. Avoiding these penalties requires a criminal defense attorney with experience. In your time of need, choose The Hoffman Firm. Our firm’s experience and resources come into play when evaluating each client’s case.
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Florida Former State ProsecutorAttorney Evan Hoffman has extensive knowledge of the strategies used by prosecutors throughout Florida.
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