Drunk driving is one of the most common criminal charges people face in Florida and throughout the country. Despite public awareness campaigns to alert people of the dangers of drunk driving, thousands of people in Florida are charged with this crime each year. And, the penalties that these individuals face upon conviction can be difficult to overcome.
For someone who gets pulled over by police officers in Florida on suspicion of drunk driving, it may be their first encounter with law enforcement in which they are a suspect of a crime. Such a situation can obviously be nerve-racking, and it can make people act different than they normally would. Police officers in these situations are looking for signs of intoxication, so "odd" behavior may make them think that intoxication is playing a role in the way a suspect acts. But, what if you weren't intoxicated, and you still failed the field sobriety tests?
Any type of car accident can cause the police officers who respond to the scene to be suspicious about drunk driving being involved. But, when a car collision involves injuries, that susceptibility to suspicion likely only rises. In a recent incident in Florida, a man was arrested on drunk driving charges after it was alleged that he ran a vehicle he was driving into a tiki bar, resulting in injuries for two people.
Most of our readers in Florida are likely to be familiar with one of the most common aspects of a drunk driving stop: field sobriety tests. But, what are the most common field sobriety tests that law enforcement officials put people through during a DUI stop?
Drunk driving prosecutions remain high across Florida.
With the start of a new year often comes the pursuit of a significant number of drunk driving charges. New Year's Eve often brings saturation patrols and DUI checkpoints, which leave many Floridians facing allegations of criminal wrongdoing. If convicted, these individuals may wind up facing serious penalties, including jail, prison, fines, license suspension, license revocation and damage to one's reputation that may be difficult to remedy. In other words, those accused of drunk driving have a lot on the line. Failing to aggressively defend one's self can thus result in significant negative changes to one's life.
Previously on this blog we discussed a couple of the field sobriety tests that police officers rely on when trying to determine whether a motorist is intoxicated. If a driver fails those tests, the results are passed on to prosecutors, who then use them as evidence as a way to obtain a drunk driving conviction. A conviction, in turn, can leave an individual facing serious penalties. Depending on the circumstances, these penalties may include jail or prison, fines, license suspension, license revocation and significant damage to one's reputation. With that in mind, if you have been accused of DUI, then you need to think about how to put forth a strong criminal defense that protects your interests.
A few weeks ago on the blog we discussed the horizontal gaze nystagmus test and how law enforcement and prosecutors often rely on that field sobriety test to obtain arrests and convictions. Although they find this test to be critically important, it is not the only field sobriety test utilized by the police. Another method they use to test for signs of intoxication is the walk-and-turn test.
Prosecutors rely on a wide variety of evidence when trying to obtain a drunk driving conviction. Of course, they will attempt to admit evidence regarding breathalyzer test results and officer accounts of a driver's behavior, but that's not all. They also often have police officers testify about field sobriety tests that may have been administered to a driver. The results of these tests can be seriously damaging to a defendant, meaning that he or she could wind up facing serious penalties as a result.