|Florida Five DUI
Field Sobriety Tests
What are Five DUI Field Sobriety Tests used in Florida DUI Investigations?
There are five commonly used field sobriety tests ( DUI Standardized Field Sobriety Testing ) or field sobriety exercises used by police in DUI cases. Sometimes these methods are called Standardized Field Sobriety Exercises. Many law enforcement agencies have policies requiring these interactions, as well as the driving pattern to be captured on an uninterrupted video recording that automatically activates when the police car’s overhead emergency lights are activated. Here is what at least one court has said about these tactics.
Are Roadside Field Sobriety investigations really tests?
One court has ruled the State cannot refer to Field Sobriety Exercises as tests and will not allow testimony about whether or not a Defendant passed or failed Field Sobriety Exercises. The court did allow limited testimony as to:
Exercises the Defendant requested to perform;
Instructions that were read to Defendant;
Actions the Defendant took in completing exercises.
The State will not be permitted to bolster testimony by again testifying in summary, exercise by exercise, whether Defendant followed the instructions. See State v. Gholston, 4 Fla. L. Weekly Supp.594a (9th Cir. Ct., February 19, 1997).
What are Five DUI Field Sobriety Tests used in Florida DUI Investigations and how can they be described?
- HGN – Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test. In this commonly used test, the driver is asked to follow the lighted red tip of a pen with his or her eyes, without moving the head. If a driver has been drinking his eyes will jerk, instead of following the light smoothly. Some doctors cannot accurately determine impairment using this method. Almost none of the officers we see in court are qualified to speak about this “test”, since they are not qualified to do so by most courts in Florida.
- Walk and Turn – The nine steps test. In this process, the driver must walk a straight line heel-to-toe for nine steps, make a tight turn in a very unusual manner, and then walk back nine steps. Commonly used and officers frequently note errors that may include using the hands to balance,, an incorrect manner of turning, and incorrect number of steps.
- One Leg Stand – Balancing on one leg. The driver stands on one foot for about 30 seconds. Commonly used and officers frequently note errors including putting the foot down, unable to maintain balance, and driver cannot keep foot in the air for thirty seconds. Health issues unrelated to impairment can affect the completion of this one.
- Finger to Nose – Touching the nose. With hands at his side, the driver is asked to close his eyes, lean his head back, and touch his nose with the tip of each finger. This one frequently has cops calling out errors on where on the finger and where on the face the finger makes contact. Seldom can these “errors” be seen on video.
- ABC – Reciting the alphabet. This test is seldom seen or used in Florida DUI cases.