Field sobriety tests are real-time assessments that law enforcement officials make of individuals who they suspect are driving while drunk. In Florida, the police can use a variety of field sobriety tests to look for signs of alcohol impairment in drivers, such as the one-leg stand or the walk-and-turn test. Although there are guidelines on how law enforcement officials are to execute these assessments, it is possible for some drivers to challenge the results of their field sobriety tests and to have the evidence collected from them excluded from their drunk driving legal proceedings. This post will generally discuss some of the ways that common field sobriety tests may be challenged, but it is imperative that readers remember that this post provides no legal advice.
One way to challenge field sobriety test results is to demonstrate that the officer who executed the assessments did not acknowledge special needs or conditions present in the affected driver. For example, if a driver suffered from an illness or condition that made balancing on one leg next to impossible, then it is not necessarily fair for their inability to perform the one leg stand to be used as evidence of their intoxication while driving.
Additionally a driver may challenge a field sobriety test if the officer who administered it did not follow accepted procedural requirements. When a law enforcement official deviates from standardized protocols, subjectivity may be introduced into the execution and interpretation of field sobriety testing results. These outcomes may not be accurate.
The case-specific nature of field sobriety testing necessitates individuals discuss their potential challenges with their drunk driving defense attorneys. Defenses are often available to suspected drunk drivers that may reduce or eliminate their pending charges.