Jacksonville Field Sobriety Tests

Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) are a standardized series of diagnostic exercises designed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to judge whether a driver is operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of driving under the influence, he may ask you to perform one or more of these tests:

FSTs are extremely subjective—in most cases, the police officer has already made up his mind before he asks you to step out of the car. They are also unreliable. Even at best, the Walk and Turn Test and One Leg Stand Test are only about 65% accurate. Age, certain health conditions, or being just plain coordinated can work against you even further. All of this can lead to a lot of false positives and unnecessary arrests.

If you are pulled over on suspicion of a DUI in Florida, your best course of action is simply to refuse to take the test. Drivers in Florida are not obligated to submit to a field sobriety test. While refusal to submit to a field test can be used to prove guilt in trial, a skilled Jacksonville DUI lawyer can argue that there are many perfectly valid reasons for not taking such a test.

It should be noted that, while every driver has the right to refuse an FST, the same cannot be said of a breath or blood test. Refusal to comply with one of these tests can lead to an automatic license suspension of one year.