When the police pull someone over on suspicion of driving under the influence in Florida, the standard procedure is to ask them to participate in field sobriety testing.
Many people are unaware that this is a request they can deny.
What are field sobriety tests?
There are three common field sobriety tests used by law enforcement. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test tracks the movement of the eyes as you follow an object. For example, the officer may hold an object and ask you to follow it to the left and right with your eyes and without moving your head.
The one-leg stand test checks your balance. The officer will ask you to balance on one leg while you hold the other foot six inches from the ground for 30 seconds. Finally, the walk-and-turn test requires you to make heel-to-toe steps, following a straight line before turning around and walking back in the same manner.
Even when sober, these tests can be challenging for some people under various circumstances. Therefore, they are not reliable sources of evidence.
What happens if you refuse field sobriety testing?
Refusing a field sobriety test does not mean the officer will let you go. More often than not, they will follow up by requesting a chemical test, which can be a breath, urine or blood test. You can refuse chemical testing at the scene and take it later when you arrive at the station.
Refusing field sobriety and chemical testing will likely still result in an arrest. However, you will still have your day in court.