Field Sobriety Exercises: Can You Challenge the Results?

A field sobriety exercise is supposed to help a law enforcement officer determine whether or not a person has been driving while impaired. The impairment may be due to drugs or fatigue, but signs of alcohol intoxication are usually what the officer is looking for. First and foremost is important to understand that you have a right to refuse a field sobriety exercise without the consequence of having your Florida drivers’ license suspended. This is not the case with refusal to take a Breathalyzer. However, refusing to take the field sobriety exercise will be admissible in court should you choose to later challenge a DUI. It is also important to know that field sobriety exercise results are based on the personal observations of the police officer. This makes them subjective results that can be challenged later on based on a number of factors.

What Are the Standard Field Sobriety Exercises?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are several standardized field sobriety exercises. The most common three include:

• The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: The officer will observe how an individual’s eyes react to outside stimuli such as following a pen or a flashlight.

• The One Leg Stand: The officer will instruct an individual to raise one leg off of the ground, look at the raised leg, and stay in that position for thirty seconds in order to check for balance that may have been affected by impairment.

• The Walk and Turn: Another balance exercise, the officer will tell the individual to walk, heel to toe, along with a straight line and then turn to repeat.

How do You Challenge the Results of a Field Sobriety Exercise?

There are several ways to challenge the results of a field sobriety exercises. These are subjective exercises administered by people and thus subject to human error on a variety of levels. One common way to challenge field sobriety exercises is to call into question the training and experience of the law enforcement officer who administered them. Without the proper knowledge base, an officer may have improperly administered the exercise leading to flawed results.

Additionally, the officer may have failed to take into account any relevant physical conditions you may have. If you have a disability or may be overweight, a field sobriety exercise may not produce accurate results and would be an inappropriate method of trying to determine whether you are impaired. Some people also suffer from ear infections or other issues relating to equilibrium and balance. Neurological injuries can also lead to inaccurate field sobriety results.

The officer must also take into account the lighting of the area where the exercise is being administered as well as any relevant weather conditions. The officer must also provide proper instruction on how to perform. Failure to take into account any of the above can act as a solid basis for challenging the arrest later on.

Fighting Your DUI Charge.

A DUI charge should never be taken lightly. A conviction can be more than just costly; it can have negative consequences for your driving privileges as well as lead to a mark on your permanent record. Attorney Ron Herman is prepared to challenge your DUI on every front. Contact Herman Law, P.A. today.