If you have been stopped by a law enforcement officer and during what started off as a routine traffic stop you are asked by the officer if you have been drinking, you may soon find yourself investigated for potential drunk driving. Part of the process involved in a suspected drunk driving investigation is the administration of what are called field sobriety tests. If you are requested to take these tests, you should know what they are really for.
While the name implies that these tests may identify whether or not you are sober, that is not actually the case. As explained by FieldSobrietyTests.org, these test are not used for that purpose in part because they really cannot prove any such thing. Instead, field sobriety tests are used to collect evidence that supports the potential that you might be drunk. If an officer is able to say that you failed one of these tests, they may be able to legally arrest you and charge you with a drunk driving offense.
There are three tests approved for use by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. None of these tests is fully accurate. The accuracy rates of the tests range from a low of 65 percent to a high of 77 percent individually. Even collectively their accuracy rate is only 82 percent.
This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to let Florida residents know just what a field sobriety test is and is not designed for and how it may not always produce accurate results.