In the State of Florida, you can be compelled to perform Field Sobriety Exercises. This doesn’t mean that the officer can physically force you to perform the exercises. It simply means that the officer does not have to obtain your consent and your refusal to perform the field sobriety exercises can be used against you in court. So how would this play out? Let’s take a look:
What are Field Sobriety Exercises?
Field Sobriety Exercises are physical tasks that an officer will ask you to perform when that officer suspects that you are driving while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs. Some of the exercises are standardized, meaning that the instructions and the way they are conducted are the same everywhere in the United States. Some of the exercises are not. Some examples of Field Sobriety Exercises are the Walk and Turn exercise, the Finger to Nose exercise, the One Leg Stand Exercise, the Rhomberg Alphabet exercise, and the Rhomberg Balance exercise. Each exercise is designed to divide your attention so you are concentrating on different tasks. For example, during the walk and turn exercise, you have to listen to instructions, remember to keep you arms by your sides, place one foot in front of the other heal to toe, walk down a line, take 9 steps, turn taking small steps during the turn and take 9 steps back, all while not swaying, raising your arms or stopping. The officer will mark down each thing that you do wrong and will form an opinion on whether you are impaired or not based on how you do on the Field Sobriety Exercises. In the real world however, the officer may have already formed an opinion about whether you are impaired before you ever start the field sobriety exercises and they may use the results of the field sobriety exercises to gather evidence against you.