Can I Refuse to Take a Field Sobriety Test in Florida?

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If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI by law enforcement officials in Florida, you may be asked to take one or several “field sobriety tests” (FSTs). These tests are used to help the police gather evidence of impairment and make DUI arrests. 

The following are the three standard FSTs validated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): 

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test – The nystagmus is an involuntary movement of the eyeball when you follow an object from side to side with your eyes. While a sober person’s eyes would move peripherally, an intoxicated person’s nystagmus would move nearly at an angle. The officer will tell you to follow his/her finger, a pen, or a flashlight beam with your eyes, looking for any involuntary or jerking movements with your eyes. 

  • One-Leg Stand (OLS) Test – The officer will instruct you to stand with one foot six inches from the ground and count aloud by thousands for up to 30 seconds. The officer will look for several indicators of impairment, such as using your arms to balance, putting your foot down, swaying while balancing, or hopping/jumping to maintain balance. 

  • Walk-and-Turn (WAT) Test – The officer will instruct you to take nine (9) heel-to-toe steps and then turn around on one foot and take another nine (9) steps back in the same manner. You may appear impaired if you are unable to follow instructions, maintain balance, fail to touch your heel to toe when taking steps, using your arms to balance, or fail to take the proper amount of steps. 

While the implied consent laws in Florida apply to breath and blood tests after an arrest, they do not apply to FSTs during a DUI investigation. In other words, you can politely refuse to take a field sobriety test without facing additional penalties. 

However, you could still be arrested even if you refuse to take any FSTs. The truth is that these tests are designed for you to fail and the results give the police more evidence to be used against you in court. 

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Miami, contact the Law Office of Armando J. Hernandez, P.A. today at (305) 400-0074 for a free case review. Get a former prosecutor with more than 19 years of experience on your side!