Everything to know about BAC and FST

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2022 | DUI Defense

If an officer pulls you over under the suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), they have two options to assess their intuition: blood alcohol content (BAC) tests or field sobriety tests (FST).

There’s a lot you should know about your BAC and FSTs and the rights you have. Here’s what you should know:

3 types of blood alcohol content tests

You are considered illegally intoxicated behind the wheel when your blood alcohol content is 0.08% or more. Officers have three BAC tests they may conduct:

  • Breath test: one of the more commonly known tests. This test measures your BAC from a puff of air. Officers often carry small, portable machines to administer breath tests.
  • Urine test: this test is less accurate than breath and blood tests and is often only done when the other two are unavailable. These tests can’t be administered during a stop and may show faulty results with the passage of time.
  • Blood test: these tests are lab done and may be more accurate than breath and urine tests.

Florida is an implied consent state. In other words, if you refuse a BAC test, you could have a license suspension, implied consent violation charges and criminal charges.

3 types of field sobriety tests

Alternatively, officers may conduct a field sobriety test – it may be a personal opinion as to why an officer would choose an FST over a BAC test. An officer will likely conduct three common FSTs:

  • Walk and turn test: as the name suggests, this test has the driver walk in a straight line, turn and return to where they started.
  • One-legged test: the driver will have to balance on one leg in this test.
  • Horizontal gaze control test: an officer may ask the driver to focus on one spot and follow it without turning their head.

Each of these tests focuses on muscle control and responsiveness that would otherwise be impaired from alcohol. Because of the inaccurate judgment of these tests that may be influenced by medical conditions, you may refuse an FST, however, it may cause further suspicion.

DUI charges aren’t always administered with probable cause. If you were charged with a DUI, you may need to reach out for legal help when building your defense.