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Sarasota Field Sobriety Tests: Designed To Fail

Ahhhh tests. You probably thought you were done with them the day you graduated from high school or college. But if you are (or ever have been) pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving in Sarasota then you have a series tests that you will have to pass in order to get by. One major problem is that the first round of tests– the field sobriety tests– are pretty much designed for you to fail.

The basic purpose behind field sobriety tests is simple- to determine whether a driver is drunk by testing his or her coordination. In doing so, the police are looking for any sign of intoxication. The tests are administered on the side of the road, causing additional distractions to the driver. Failing one or all of the field sobriety tests administered gives the Sarasota police enough reason to bring the driver in for further (and much more invasive) chemical testing. Unlike chemical testing, which yields a quantifiable BAC number, field sobriety tests are extremely subjective. The reality is that the police pull you over with the mindset that you are driving under the influence. He or she uses the tests as a way to confirm what they already think, and not as a way to disprove what they think. This mindset coupled with the intimidating roadside atmosphere put you in a losing position before you even begin.

The three basic types of Sarasota field sobriety tests are:

  1. The Eye Test: The eye test is typically the first field sobriety test the Sarasota police will perform. The test checks whether the driver suspected of driving under the influence is able to follow an object with their eyes.
  1. The One-Leg Stand: As the name implies, this test checks your ability to stand on one leg. Of course, the police assume you can stand on one leg sober—something that is simply not true for many people. In addition to standing on one leg, this test is also deigned to check your ability to do multiple tasks at once- the police officer will have you count out loud while attempting to balance.
  1. The Walk and Turn Test:  A divided attention test, the walk and turn test has the individual to put one foot in front of another, turn around and then do it all over again. Ability to follow instructions and coordination are the two things police are looking for in this test.

Field sobriety tests are considered voluntary in the state of Florida. That’s right; you DO NOT have to take the tests when asked by a police officer.

If you have recently been arrested for a DUI in Sarasota, give us a call for a free consultation on your case. The law firm of Finebloom & Haenel P.A. are available day and night to discuss the legal options in front of you and will work hard to get you the best results possible. We look forward to hearing from you!

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