Police witnessed a vehicle drift in-between lanes. The officer initiated a stop, and noticed that the defendant had slurred speech, difficulty standing, and smelled of alcohol. The defendant failed Field Sobriety Testing and submitted to a Breathalyzer Test. The defendant blew .174% & .176%; both readings were well over the legal limit of .08% BAC (blood alcohol concentration). The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles suspended the defendant’s license.
Field Sobriety Testing
Field Sobriety Testing in Florida includes three standard exercises:
- Walk and turn – Subject walks heel to toe in a straight line, then they are instructed to turn around and walk back in the same manner.
- One leg stand – Subject raises one leg off the ground while counting.
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – An object, such as a pen or flashlight, is moved in front of the subject’s eyes. They are instructed to follow the object with their eyes.
Officers could also have an individual say the alphabet backward, perform finger-to-nose testing, a backward number test, a vertical gaze nystagmus test, or the Romberg Balance test.
Field sobriety tests are not always accurate. There are many variables that come into play when an individual performs such tests that could make them appear under the influence even if they are not. Some of these variables include: an individual having a disability that makes them off balance, an individual being so nervous that they don’t perform well, the shoes or clothing of an individual making mobility difficult, the surface of the road being uneven. In addition, age and fatigue could also be variables that come into play when looking at the accuracy of field sobriety testing.
Law enforcement officers can also set an individual up for failure with these tests. They could give instructions all at once or give unclear instructions, which could fluster or confuse some people. Often times, officers provide too much information all at once for an individual to remember on the first try.
Any exercise that law enforcement instructs an individual to perform as part of a field sobriety test must be explained and administered by the officer in order to hold up in court. Unfortunately, many law enforcement officers will not give proper instructions prior to the testing. Some will even go as far as performing them incorrectly so that the offender does them incorrectly as well.
Retain Legal Representation
If you have had your driver’s license suspended due to illegal blood/alcohol limits, please call Musca Law Firm for a review of your case as soon as possible. We can look into your case and help you build a strong and strategic legal defense to protect yourself from the DUI charge that you face. With over 150 years of combined legal experience, our legal team is ready and able to protect you and your rights. We serve the entire state of Florida with offices in multiple cities for your ease and convenience. Call us today at (888) 484-5057 for a free, no-obligation case consultation today!
RESULT: The defense requested a Formal Administrative Review Hearing of the client’s suspended license with the Department of Motor Vehicles. The Musca Law attorney subpoenaed the arresting officer and the Breathalyzer Technician. The attorney proved that the case lacked substantial evidence to support that the client had an illegal blood/alcohol limit of .08% or higher. The Department of Motor Vehicles LIFTED the suspension of the client’s license.