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If you have been stopped by a law enforcement officer for suspicion of DUI, you have likely been asked to perform Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs). During a stop, the officer first looks for bloodshot or glassy appearance of the eyes, any odor of alcohol on the breath, or slurred or slow speech. Any of these signs provide sufficient reasonable suspicion to ask the driver to perform a roadside field sobriety test.

You are not required to perform Field Sobriety Tests. If you refuse, it is likely you will still probably be arrested for DUI. Your case, however, may be more difficult for the State Attorney's Office to prosecute because of the lack of Field Sobriety Test evidence.

Field Sobriety Tests are a series of standardized physical and cognitive performance tests given to a driver to provide the law enforcement officer with probable cause to arrest the driver for DUI. The results of the FSTs may be used as evidence in court. Many patrol cars are outfitted with dashboard cameras and any video evidence of the FST may also be submitted as evidence.

There are three sanctioned field sobriety tests in Florida:

Horizontal Gaze (Nystagmus): An officer will hold a pen or other object in front of the suspect's face and ask them to follow it with their eyes. If the motion of the eyes as the driver follows the object is not smooth, the officer may use this as grounds for an arrest. This testing is highly inaccurate and requires a high level of training to be properly administered and evaluated.

One Leg Stand: The driver is asked to stand on one leg for thirty seconds while counting in the thousands (one thousand one, one thousand two, etc.). Swaying, hopping, using arms to balance or putting the raised foot down can be interpreted as indicators of impairment.

Walk and Turn: In this test, an officer will ask the driver to walk in a straight line, heel to toe, turn around, and return in the same manner. Failure to do this according to instructions, wobbling, or stepping off the line will be noted as indicators of impairment and can result in arrest for DUI.


Many outside factors can affect the result of Field Sobriety Tests. The arresting officer subjectively determines whether a driver has passed these tests. This judgment may be affected by the opinions, training, and prejudices of the officer.

Field Sobriety Test results may be challenged based on the validity of the administration and judgment of the tests due to:
  • Inadequate officer training

  • Failure to properly administer the tests

  • Inappropriate grading of the tests

  • False positive results
A driver's ability to perform FSTs may also be adversely affected by physical, medical, mental or environmental conditions. The results may be challenged if any of the following played a factor in the driver's inability to successfully complete the tests.
  • Medical condition or injury - Physical limitations or injuries may prevent a driver from successfully completing the tests
  • Age - those 65 or older may have issues that prevent them from completing the tests
  • Gender - women may have special issues successfully completing the tests
  • Weight - those over 50 pounds overweight may have issues successfully completing the tests
  • Hearing - those with hearing conditions may not be able to clearly hear the instructions
  • Environment - lighting, noise, ground conditions and weather may affect the results of the tests
  • Mental or emotional factors - anxiety or fear may affect the results of the Field Sobriety Tests
  • Language barriers - may prevent a driver from successfully following the instructions


Field Sobriety Tests are subjective, difficult to judge and generally unreliable. A Seminole County DUI attorney can help you fight DUI charges by challenging the validity of these test results. If they are found to be invalid, the results are thrown out as evidence and your chances of success in fighting a DUI charge is improved.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.