Fort Myers, FL – There are a number of different steps to a DUI investigation. Once an officer notices a driving pattern that includes a traffic infraction, they may stop a vehicle and look for certain other indications that the driver is impaired. A significant part of the DUI investigation is to have the driver try to complete physical tests that are supposed to measure coordination. Being able to follow instructions and remain coordinated is an important aspect of being able to drive safely.
What are field sobriety tests?
The NHTSA creates training and applications for various ways of investigating the crime of DUI for law enforcement departments around the country. They have approved certain divided attention exercises as being able to measure whether a person is able to operate a motor vehicle safely or not. The tests are also used as evidence to help justify probable cause for an arrest, and their results may be introduced in court later as evidence of impairment to help the state’s case against a drunk driver.
Some of the most commonly used tests include the following. A horizontal gaze nystagmus test where the suspect must follow a pen or stylus with their eyes. An involuntary movement of the eyes often indicates the presence of alcohol in the bloodstream. A finger to nose test is used to make the suspect follow basic instructions while coordinating basic movements. If the suspect has trouble following these commands, they may not be able to pay attention to road signs and traffic lights while making movements necessary to drive. The walk and turn test is designed to test coordination along with basic short term memory skills to check a person’s coordination. There are additional tests that are used in some other jurisdictions, while Florida police tend to use the same few throughout the state.
Defending against the results
Field sobriety exercises and testing are not necessarily a scientific or empirical exercise. Some courts in Florida have even limited the use of the word “test” to describe the results. Defense attorneys often point out that these exercises are usually conducted on a dark roadside, where most people would not be able to complete them, regardless of whether they were under the influence or not. Many drivers also have coordination issues due to health problems, or simply lack the athleticism to complete the tests in a satisfactory manner that would dispel an officer’s suspicion.
DUI defense in Fort Myers
There are attorneys who focus on helping people with their DUI charges in Florida. Michael Raheb is an experienced defense attorney who works with local clients and represents them throughout the course of their case.
Firm contact info:
2423 First Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901