What is the purpose of field sobriety tests in Florida?
Fort Myers, FL – Police have a number of different ways of seeing whether a driver can safely operate a motor vehicle or not if there is suspicion that the person may have consumed drugs or alcohol. One of the main ways that this is done is through field sobriety tests or exercises. These are a series of divided attention movements that are meant to test coordination, awareness, and the person’s ability to follow instructions. Research into field sobriety testing has shown that people who have trouble completing these exercises may also have trouble driving safely and following the rules of the road due to intoxication.
The procedure to ask the driver to take the test
Officers in Florida do not conduct breath tests at the scene. These are generally done in a police station after the suspect has already been taken into custody and observed for a certain period of time. In order to test the driver’s level of impairment based on their movements and demeanor, the officer can ask the person to step out of the car and perform the exercises. This is supposed to be done on an even surface in a well lit area. The officer is observing the person to see if they have basic balance and movement skills, along with how the person responds to the police and acts during the process. Someone who is argumentative and unsteady is likely intoxicated, although the results of the tests are not considered scientific.
Problems with sobriety testing
Over the years, DUI defense lawyers have found a number of problems with the tests themselves and the way that they are administered to suspects. A common problem is that many people simply lack the athletic ability to perform these exercises, regardless of whether they are sober or not. In practice, police officers often conduct the tests on a dark road side at night near traffic, which can affect the victim’s performance. There are also some differences between which specific exercises are recommended by NHTSA versus which exercises officers may actually use in each state. Some district courts within Florida have even ruled that the exercises cannot be called tests in criminal court, in order to make the jury understand that field sobriety testing is only meant to help the officer observe the person. A chemical test is a much more accurate way to prove intoxication.
Help from a DUI defense attorney
Michael Raheb is an attorney in Fort Myers who is experienced in all aspects of DUI law. Anyone who has been arrested in Florida can contact his office to learn more about representation.
Firm contact info:
The Law Offices of Michael M. Raheb, P.A.
2423 First Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901
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