Are You Legally Obligated to Submit to Field Sobriety Evaluation?
Before discussing whether you should submit to a Field Sobriety Evaluation
(FSE), it is important to determine whether you are obligated by law to
do so. Field Sobriety Evaluations are often confused for blood or breath
alcohol testing samples, though they are quite different.
For example, Florida Statute 316.1932 states one is deemed to consent to
submission of a breath or blood alcohol sample simply by having a Florida
driver’s license, with failure to submit resulting in a 12-month
administrative driver’s license suspension, and a second or subsequent
refusal resulting in a misdemeanor criminal prosecution for such refusal,
as well as an 18-month administrative suspension.
This would include:
- Breath tests
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
Field Sobriety Evaluations, however, are
not included, which means that you are
not legally obligated to comply. Failure to submit to a Field Sobriety Evaluation
will not, in and of itself, result in a driver’s license suspension,
nor a separate criminal charge, which further differentiates such from
a breath or blood alcohol sobriety test.
Different ways Field Sobriety Tests are administered include:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
- One-Leg Stand
- Romberg Alphabet
Factors to Consider When Deciding to Take an FSE in Florida
The results of Field Sobriety Evaluations are subjective, as there are
several factors that contribute to an individual’s performance.
The accuracy of FSE’s is questionable, and can often lead to “false
Factors to consider:
- Fear and nervousness of being pulled over
- Surrounding environment: lighting, noises, ground condition, weather, etc.
- Driver’s fatigue
- Clothing that restricts mobility
- Potential language barriers between the driver and officer
- Physical conditioning of the driver: size, weight, gender, etc.
If any of these factors are a concern to you, the best response is to openly
discuss them with the officer. Most all law enforcement agencies will
record the roadside performance of FSE’s, so any jury will listen
to whatever you say to the officer regarding such issues, while watching
your performance on the FSE’s.
Contact a Florida DUI Attorney
If you have any concerns regarding your Field Sobriety Evaluation, you
should contact an experienced Florida DUI Lawyer. Attorney Albert J. Sauline,
III can help answer any questions you may have regarding your DUI case,
defending your rights throughout your DUI proceedings.