No Florida driver wants to see flashing red and blue lights behind their car. Unfortunately, that’s often the case for people who drive while impaired. If a police officer suspects you’re driving while intoxicated, they might ask you to perform a field sobriety test. That said, field sobriety tests might not be as reliable as you think.
Using non-recognized tests
A police officer can choose several common methods to determine a driver’s sobriety. With that said, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) only officially recognizes specific tests. For instance, a police officer asking you to touch your finger to your nose or recite the alphabet forward or backward aren’t officially recognized field sobriety tests.
Tests that the NHTSA does recognize are the following:
- Standing on one leg
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus
- Walk and turn test
Ignoring valid medical conditions
Whether it’s the anxiety of dealing with law enforcement or a random asthma attack, medical conditions can make those affected act in what appears to be an impaired manner. If an officer ignores your condition or multiple conditions, it can distort field sobriety test results.
Performing tests improperly
There’s also the possibility that an officer performing a field sobriety test makes mistakes. Understandably, there are strict rules about how officers must perform these tests. An officer making one mistake during this test could make it inadmissible as evidence in your criminal defense case.
If a police officer asks you to perform a field sobriety test, you have the right to refuse it. But know that this decision will likely lead to your arrest. Regardless of what happens, remain polite with the officer you speak with. Getting angry will only worsen your situation and could lead to more charges.