Too many drivers are unaware of their rights during DUI stops. One of the most important things that all drivers must know is their right to refuse sobriety tests in Florida. Whether the driver is sober or impaired, this knowledge is crucial for protecting one’s self during a DUI stop.
Our team at Hager & Schwartz, P.A. is here to discuss the sobriety tests you may be asked to take and when you have the right to refuse without penalty.
Types of Sobriety Tests in Florida
There are two main categories of sobriety tests: chemical and field sobriety tests. Chemical tests like breath, blood, and urine tests produce a quantitative score for the driver’s impairment. Field sobriety tests are based on the driver’s ability to control their body through a series of short, physical examinations.
If a driver refuses to take a chemical test, this is a violation of implied consent laws. Every state has implied consent laws that require drivers to take chemical tests when asked by law enforcement.
Field sobriety tests, however, are not covered by these laws. Drivers can and should refuse to take field sobriety tests.
Why You Should Always Refuse Field Sobriety Testing
Drivers should never take field sobriety tests – regardless of their intoxication. This is because these tests are so subjective — even individuals who are 100% sober can easily fail and be accused of DUI.
Field sobriety test results may be affected by:
- The driver’s understanding of the test
- The way the officer explained the test
- The surrounding area
- Uneven road conditions during the test
- The driver’s medical conditions
- The driver’s footwear
- How long the driver was driving prior to being stopped
Any number of these factors could work against the driver’s ability to pass the tests. Even if a driver believes they can successfully do so, they should never risk it. Taking field sobriety tests simply allows the police officer to collect more evidence against the driver. Do not give them this chance.
Are Field Sobriety Tests Always Optional in Florida?
You may be wondering, are there any times during which field sobriety tests are mandatory? For example, what about holiday weekends? Or as part of a sobriety checkpoint?
The good news is that field sobriety tests are never mandatory. No matter what, you have the right to refuse without penalty. However, a police officer may lead you to believe that you will face consequences for refusing the test or that you do not have the right to refuse. This is why it is crucial that you are secure in your knowledge about field sobriety tests and you can be confident refusing and know that you will be okay.
Are Chemical Tests Ever Optional?
Earlier we mentioned that chemical testing is not optional and refusal to take chemical tests can result in penalties under implied consent. This is also true no matter the circumstances. However, drivers may still be better off refusing chemical testing.
Refusal to take a chemical test often results in a one-year driver’s license suspension. However, it may be easier to fight this case than take the chemical test and fight a DUI case. The driver will have to decide in the moment what is the better course of action.
DUI Defense in Florida from Hager & Schwartz, P.A.
Despite DUI being one of the most common criminal offenses in America, each case is unique. A number of factors can complicate a driver’s DUI stop, such as the demeanor of the driver and police officer, the sobriety tests taken or not taken, how probable cause for arrest was established, and much more.
At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., our team has numerous years of experience diving into the details of hundreds of DUI cases. We know where to look to create the strongest possible defense. Get started with our team today; reach our Daytona Beach defense attorneys at (386) 693-1637.