Ft. Lauderdale Field Sobriety Test Defense Attorney
DUI Attorney Helping Floridians for Over 20 Years
Law enforcement officers use field sobriety tests to measure the level of intoxication. These tests can be administered differently and may not yield adequate evidence to convict.
The Hoffman Firm has fiercely defended our clients for over two decades. We understand what is at stake when you face criminal charges and we work tirelessly to protect your rights and defend you in court. If you have been asked to perform a field sobriety test and face DUI charges, contact our Ft. Lauderdale attorney today.
Call our Ft. Lauderdale field sobriety test defense attorney at 954-737-3004.
What Is a Field Sobriety Test?
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration created a series of basic tests and tasks law enforcement officers can use to test drivers for intoxication. Most police officers ask drivers to perform three tasks: the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, and the one-leg stand.
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus: According to NHTSA research, intoxicated people have an involuntary jerking of the eye when looking to the side. Nystagmus is normal, but the jerking motion becomes more pronounced when intoxicated. To test this, an officer may test the driver's ability to follow a moving object with their eyes, distinct eye jerking at maximum deviation, and eye jerking within 45 degrees of center.
- Walk and turn: When people think about a field sobriety test, they often envision the walk and turn. The purpose of this test is to measure balance and spatial awareness. Police may ask a driver to walk along a straight line turn on one foot, and walk back in an equally straight line.
- One-leg stand: Drivers could be asked to stand on one foot and count to 30. Swaying, using arms to balance, and hopping or putting a foot down may be a sign of intoxication.
All three exercises are intended to evaluate sobriety. These tests are usually done before a breathalyzer and provide only a small amount of evidence.
Non-Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
In addition to the standardized field sobriety test mentioned above, some officers may have a driver perform non-standardized tests. These tests may include standing with feet together while tipping the head backward, reciting the alphabet, counting backward, and closing the eyes while touching the nose with one finger.
Similar to the standardized field sobriety tests, these more informal evaluations measure balance, awareness, and cognizance.
How Effective Are Field Sobriety Tests?
In general, field sobriety tests are not reliable measures of intoxication. Not only is there a risk of the police officer administering the test incorrectly, but some of the test components would trip up sober individuals.
For example, people with severe vertigo may find tipping their head backward or walking in a straight line difficult because of their condition. People who suffer from epilepsy may have more pronounced horizontal eye nystagmus that has nothing to do with intoxication.
Ultimately, while field sobriety tests are "standardized," the administration of these tests may vary, and people could fail the test because of a medical condition. These tests are fallible and should not be the sole basis for a DUI charge.
Put Your Case in Good Hands
If you have been asked to perform a field sobriety test, but the officer administered it improperly, or you failed because of an unrelated condition, you may have a legal case. The Hoffman Firm believes in a fierce defense backed by years of experience and care for our clients.
When clients need our help, we evaluate their case, gather evidence, and build a unique strategy custom fit our clients' needs. Your life does not end because of a DUI. With the right legal guidance, you can pursue justice and protect your freedom.
Schedule a consultation with our Ft. Lauderdale team at The Hoffman Firm.
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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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