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What are field sobriety tests?

In Florida, you may be asked to complete field sobriety tests if you are pulled over and the officer has reason to believe that you may be driving while under the influence. But just what are field sobriety tests, and how are they utilized?

FieldSobrietyTests.org offers both standardized and non-standardized versions of field sobriety tests, which can then be used by officers at their discretion if they feel you may be driving under the influence. Standardized versions of the test include:

  • The one-leg stand
  • The walk and turn
  • The horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test

These are all designed to test your balance and your ability to track motion with your eyes. Both of these abilities will be impaired if you have been drinking or partaking in illicit substances. There are some instances where you may not be able to pass these tests but are sober. For example, someone with Parkinson's disease or weight-related issues may not be able to maintain their balance for a one-leg stand.

Non-standardized tests include touching your finger to your nose, reciting certain portions of the alphabet, or patting your hands. Non-standardized tests may be contested in court due to the fact that there isn't a standardized method of judging intoxication for them.

Field sobriety tests can sometimes be a precursor to breathalyzer tests, as officers must have reason to believe you are driving under the influence before administering those. It's also possible to be arrested for failing a field sobriety test without a breathalyzer test being taken, which is something you may wish to keep in mind.

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Sheppard, White, Kachergus, & DeMaggio, P.A. Attorneys & Counselors at Law.
215 N. Washington Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Phone: 904-701-0589
Phone: 904-727-7191
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Regular office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

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