Field Sobriety Tests: Field Sobriety Tests, also known as Field Sobriety Exercises or FSE’s, are a tool to assist DUI officers in determining whether a driver is too impaired to safely operate a motor vehicle. There are three standardized field sobriety exercises that have been adopted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test (HGN), the walk and turn test and the one-leg stand test. However, there are a number of alternative tests that can also be used, such as the finger to nose test, the alphabet test, and the counting backwards test. Field sobriety tests are divided attention exercises. They are intended to test a driver’s ability to process instructions and perform multiple tasks simultaneously, skills necessary to safely operate a motor vehicle. Most people assume that DUI officers are evaluating the suspect’s ability to maintain their balance and complete the exercises without falling over or stumbling. In reality officers are equally focused on the driver’s ability to follow instructions. Many DUI suspects are so nervous and concentrated on maintaining their balance that they don’t follow the detailed instructions given by the officer. There are many other factors that can affect the reliability of field sobriety tests, including age, weight, injury, illness, nervousness and physical disability. In fact, some experts argue that the standardized field sobriety tests are not nearly as accurate as law enforcement agencies claim. Fortunately, most field sobriety tests administered in Florida are recorded on video. It is important to have a skilled DUI defense attorney evaluate your performance on the field sobriety tests.
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