A field sobriety test is an assessment that a law enforcement officer may impose upon a driver who they suspect is driving under the influence of alcohol. Rather than testing the driver’s hair, blood, or breath, a field sobriety test evaluates the driver’s balance, coordination, or other physical control mechanisms to determine if they are inebriated. A Florida driver who fails to pass the field sobriety tests may find themselves under arrest for DUI.
Although different assessments may be used by various law enforcement offices, three of the most common field sobriety tests are the one-leg stand, the walk-and-turn test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. The one-leg stand is an assessment of a driver’s ability to balance on one foot as they lift the other off the ground.
The walk-and-turn test also assesses a driver’s coordination. During this test, they are expected to walk in a straight line, placing one foot in front of the other. When they reach the end of the line, they are expected to turn and walk back; any stumbles, falls, or losses of control may be viewed as evidence of inebriation.
The horizontal gaze nystagmus evaluates the movement of a driver’s eyes when they focus to the side. Rapid movement of the eyes may suggest intoxication. When drivers are asked to complete field sobriety tests, they should be aware that the results may be used as evidence against them in DUI cases. They can choose to work with drunk driving defense attorneys to prepare for their cases and protect their legal options.