Having the police pull you over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated can be daunting as well as frightening, especially if you have imbibed.
It is important to remember that you are not alone. Many people are stopped for DUI suspicion and, according to recent statistics, over 100 million individuals self-report driving under the influence of alcohol each year.
Can you refuse a field sobriety test?
These tests are not mandatory but refusing to take one does not necessarily excuse you from suspicion. If an officer requests you to perform a field sobriety test, they will ask you to complete three tasks:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN): An officer will ask you to follow a moving target with your eyes and assess the involuntary movement within your eye.
- Walk and turn (WAT): An officer will direct you to walk in a straight line, turn and come back. They will be looking at your ability to walk in a straight line, as well as how intently you need to focus while completing this task.
- One leg stand (OLS): In this test, the police officer will ask you to stand with one leg up, hands at your side, and count up by the thousand. They will be looking for instances where you need to put your foot down, arms up, forget the number you are on, or sway back and forth.
It may be important to note that refusing to take a field sobriety test may not save you from an arrest. If the officer deems there is enough causation to do so, they can arrest you for driving under the influence and test you at the station.
How accurate are field sobriety tests?
These field tests may not be as accurate as some believe. Officers are not always 100 percent accurate in determining the sobriety of an individual. In fact, 47 percent of the time, officers failed to correctly judge a person’s sobriety using the three tests. If you have already completed and failed a field sobriety test, you may be able to challenge the results.
Can you refuse a breath test?
Unfortunately, no. Florida is an implied consent state, which means that when you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, you automatically consent to have your blood alcohol level tested when the police stop you.