Do You Have to Take a Field Sobriety Test in Riverview?

If you are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), it can be a stressful and confusing experience. When the officer asks you to step out of the vehicle and perform a series of field sobriety tests, you may be unsure of what to do next. Should you comply and perform the test? What would happen if you refused?

In these situations, knowing your rights and obligations is crucial. If this is the first time you have been pulled over for a DUI in Riverview, you have the right to decline a field sobriety test. What you do during this encounter can significantly impact the outcome of a DUI stop and any subsequent legal proceedings, so here is what you need to know.

Do You Have to Take a Field Sobriety Test in Riverview?

What Are Field Sobriety Tests and How Do They Work?

Field sobriety tests are used by law enforcement to assess impairment in drivers who are suspected of DUI. These tests focus on evaluating a person’s physical and cognitive abilities, which can be compromised by alcohol or drugs. The most common tests include:

  • Walk-and-Turn Test: This assesses a driver’s ability to follow instructions and maintain balance. The driver must walk in a straight line, heel-to-toe, turn on one foot, and return in the same manner. The officer looks for signs of imbalance, incorrect steps, or inability to stay on the line.
  • One-Leg Stand Test: This test measures balance and concentration. The driver must stand on one leg, typically for 30 seconds, without swaying, hopping, or using their arms for balance.
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test: Here, the driver follows an object with their eyes without moving their head. The officer looks for involuntary jerking of the eye, which is heightened by alcohol consumption.

When Can a Law Enforcement Officer Administer a Sobriety Test?

For a police officer to legally administer a field sobriety test, they must have reasonable suspicion first. In simple terms, the officer must have a legitimate basis to believe a driver is impaired before administering these tests. 

For example, signs like erratic driving behavior, the odor of alcohol, or slurred speech can constitute reasonable suspicion. However, if an officer pulls a driver over for speeding or running a red light, this does not constitute reasonable suspicion. But if the officer notices open alcohol containers or smells alcohol on a driver’s breath during a traffic stop, they may request a field sobriety test.

Are You Required to Submit to a Field Sobriety Test?

No, you are not legally obligated to undergo a field sobriety test in Florida. Attorneys often advise that drivers politely decline these tests, as they can impact the outcome of a DUI court case.

However, this does not apply to chemical testing for drugs and alcohol. Under Florida’s implied consent law, driving a vehicle means that you automatically consent to take a breath, blood, or urine test when a police officer requests one. If you decline a chemical test, you can face additional penalties, such as a license suspension.

Arrested for DUI in Riverview? Speak to an Attorney Today

If you are arrested for DUI in Riverview, you need an attorney on your side. A DUI charge can have significant legal implications, and a Riverview DUI defense attorney can protect your rights and fight for the most favorable outcome in your case. As soon as possible after your arrest, contact a Florida DUI defense lawyer to discuss your case and explore your legal options.