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DUI Field Sobriety FAQs
Do I have a right to an attorney when I am stopped by an officer and asked to take a field sobriety test in Florida?
In a Florida law, you do not have a right to an attorney when you’re stopped on the side of the road and asked to do field sobriety test. The law will consider that to be a situation to where your right to counsel has not yet come into play. Absence of special circumstances, law enforcement will not allow you to contact a lawyer during that type of an investigation.
What should I do if I am asked to take a field sobriety test in Florida?
When law enforcement makes a traffic stop, and they request an individual to perform field sobriety exercises, it is up to that individual to make a determination whether or not he wishes to do it. In Florida, it is not against the law to refuse to do those tests, because they are designed to determine whether or not a person’s normal faculties are impaired. Absent that evidence, a lot of times the state will not have sufficient evidence to end up convicting you, so a lot of times it may be in your best interest to not perform those exercises.
If I am stopped by the police, do I have to perform field sobriety testing?
Field sobriety testing in Florida is totally voluntary. You do not have to submit to those types of exercises on the side of the road. The purpose of sobriety testing is to determine whether or not law enforcement can gather potential evidence to use against you. You have the ability to say, “I do not wish to participate in these tests.” If law enforcement asks, individuals can clearly say, “I don’t have to do it, I’m not choosing to do it, or I can’t do those exercises,” because a lot of times there can be different physical ailments that an individual may suffer from, bad backs, bad legs, bad knees, that are going to not allow an individual to do those types of exercises. Again, everybody can tell law enforcement, “I can’t do them, and I choose not to do them.”
What different methods are used to measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC)?
In Florida, the statutes allow law enforcement to obtain either a breath sample, a blood sample or a urine sample. Other certain circumstances, urine can be requested and under different circumstances such as an accident where you’re at the hospital, a blood test can be requested but normally speaking, under Florida law, the breath test is the primary way in which law enforcement is going to gather evidence of your blood alcohol content.
What symptoms and behavior is the officer looking for during the initial stop?
When an individual is stopped for a DUI, law enforcement will initially look for physical characteristics showing that a person may have consumed alcohol or illegal substances. That would be odors of alcohol, blood shot eyes, problems with balance, odors of other drugs. They’re also going to look for cognitive impairment, and that is whether or not a person is acting appropriately, responding with the appropriate level of respect to law enforcement, whether or not their physical skills are diminished in providing paperwork. Law enforcement has been trained to look for those clues and repetitively will always be looking for those clues initially upon a traffic stop.