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The Danger of Submitting to the Field Sobriety Exams in a DUI Case in Florida

In just about every DUI case in Florida, the police officer is going to ask the driver to submit to a field sobriety exam. The police officer will not typically offer to the driver that he/she is free to refuse the field sobriety exam. The police officer wants the driver to submit to the field sobriety exam. it is a great tool police officers can use to support the DUI case against the driver.

If you are at the point in a DUI stop where the police officer is asking you to submit to a field sobriety exam, chances are the police officer thinks you are drunk. From here, the police officer is going to be observing you with the idea that you are drunk so that bias will certainly affect any subjective decision he/she makes about you. And make no mistake, the field sobriety exam involve completely subjective exercises. In other words, you pass or fail the exams if the police officer says you pass or fail the exams. And he/she already thinks you are drunk.

There are all sorts of problems with the field sobriety exam. Again, it cannot be understated that the sole judge of these exercises during the investigation is a person who already believes you are drunk. The exercises are often not recorded on video although it usually does not take much to have a video camera at the scene. If there is no video recording, it will always be your word that you passed the field sobriety exercises against the police officer’s word that you failed. Even when there is a video camera at the scene, the field sobriety exercises often take place outside of the camera or in the dark so the person watching the video really cannot see what is going on. Some of the exercises are too difficult to see on the video anyway, such as the eye test and touching your finger to your nose.

The state loves to use testimony about a defendant’s allegedly failed field sobriety test at DUI trial. There are always defenses and arguments attacking field sobriety exam testimony, but one way to avoid potentially damaging, subjective field sobriety exercise testimony is to politely refuse the request to submit to the field sobriety exercises during the DUI stop.