Field Sobriety Tests

Field Sobriety Tests

Ft. Lauderdale DUI attorney

In most roadside stop situations, when a police officer decides to initiate a DUI investigation, they will usually instruct the driver to exit their vehicle and perform a series of exercises of "field sobriety tests" in order to determine whether or not the driver is impaired.  Depending upon the experience and training of the investigating officer, some of these test results will be admissible in court and some will not.  Performance of field sobriety exercises is usually recorded and the police will seek to use the test results as evidence of intoxication when your case goes to court.

 If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Broward County, it is crucial that you retain an experienced, aggressive and effective Broward County DUI attorney as soon as possible.  If your driver's license has been suspended due to a refusal to perform the tests or if you were arrested after allegedly performing poorly on the field sobriety tests, you will have only 10 days to contest the administrative suspension of your driver's license.  Ft. Lauderdale DUI defense attorney Antonio D. Quinn appears regularly before the DMV in order to fight for his client's driving privileges.  Before attempting to make any decisions which could have negative consequences in the future, it is crucial to be represented by an experienced Broward DUI attorney who can help you to evaluate your options and decide what is the best course to pursue in your drunk driving case. 


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Field Sobriety Exercises in Florida



  • HGN Test:  The HGN or Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test is a commonly used test employed by law enforcement during a DUI investigation, however the test results are admissible in court only under a very limited set of circumstances which likely are not present in most drunk driving cases.  The HGN test consists of shining a light and instructing that the driver follow the light with their eyes. The scientific basis for this investigatory technique is based upon the fact that the pupils of an intoxicated individual will behave differently from someone who is not intoxicated.   If you were subjected to the HGN test and feel that it may have been relied upon by the police officer in deciding to arrest you, then you must contact Ft. Lauderdale DUI defense attorney Antonio D. Quinn, Esq. immediately.  The National Highway and Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) guidelines state that the HGN test must be performed under conditions which are free from wind and debris.  Despite this, field sobriety exercises are frequently performed on the side of a busy highway with traffic speeding by.  The NHTSA guidelines further state that the person performing the exam should be turned away from flashing strobe lights and oncoming traffic.  Despite this, the HGN test is often performed with the presence of sirens, spotlights and the headlights of oncoming traffic.  If you have been arrested in Broward County and you want to have your DUI charge reduced or dismissed, it is essential to retain a Broward DUI attorney who knows how to cross examine the police officer on proper administration of the HGN test. 


  • Walk and Turn Test:  When this test is conducted, an investigating police officer will instruct an individual to take 9 steps in a straight line and then to turn and take 9 steps back.  The police will observe the driver for stumbling, loss of balance or other signs of intoxication.  The officer is looking for 8 signs of impairment 1) if the suspect cannot keep their balance when they are listening to instructions, 2) begins before the instructions are complete 3) stops while walking 4) does not touch heal to toe 5) steps off the line 6) uses arms for balance 7) makes an improper turn or 9) takes the incorrect number of steps.   There are, however a number of conditions other than intoxication which can cause a driver to perform poorly on the "walk and turn" test.  Exhaustion, confusion, illness and injury are just some of the factors which could cause a driver to perform poorly on this test.  It requires the actions of an experienced and aggressive Broward County DUI defense attorney to show the court what the DUI video does not. 


  • The One Legged Stand Test:  During this field sobriety exercise, an investigating officer will instruct the driver to stand with one leg six inches off of the ground for 30 seconds.  The officer looks for 4 indicators of impairment 1)  swaying while balancing 2) using arms to balance 3)  hopping to maintain balance 4)  putting the foot down.  Just as in the "walk and turn" test above, there are a number of conditions such as illness or injury which could cause less than perfect performance on the one legged stand test.


In addition to the field sobriety exercises outlined above, a police officer may ask an individual to perform a "counting test", the "Romberg Alphabet" test and the "finger to nose".  All of these tests have one goal: to gather evidence that a driver is intoxicated to be used against them in court.  If you have been arrested for DUI in Broward County, whether you performed field sobriety tests or not, it is crucial that you retain an experienced and aggressive Ft. Lauderdale DUI defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.  An experienced DUI lawyer will be able to contest the basis used to determine that you were intoxicated and will give you your best chance at successfully defending your driving privilege as well as your criminal record.   Call Ft. Lauderdale DUI attorney Antonio D. Quinn, Esq. today to set up a free consultation and to evaluate your options going forward.


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