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Should I Submit to a Field Sobriety Test?

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
  • Walk-and-Turn
  • One-Leg Stand
  • Finger-to-Nose
  • 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 positives.”

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.