Driving a car or other motor vehicle if you have consumed alcohol or drugs is a serious offense in Florida. It may contribute to severe or fatal accidents and injuries. Law enforcement officers use various field sobriety tests to assess a driver’s impairment level and prevent such incidents.
However, drivers charged with driving under the influence (DUI) are increasingly contesting their results in court due to test accuracy and reliability issues. If you suspect your field sobriety test produced inaccurate results, you can contest your DUI charge in court using specific challenges to protect your rights.
The officer’s training
You can challenge the police officer’s training and test procedures. Law enforcement officers undergo training to administer DUI field sobriety tests using a specific protocol. However, if the officer who tested you was not appropriately trained or certified, you can challenge the test results in court. Additionally, if the officer did not administer the test using the proper procedures, you could challenge your results in court.
Quality of the officer’s observations
Another way to challenge a DUI and the results of a field sobriety test is to question the officer’s observations. The officer administering the test might have made a faulty observation by failing to consider your mental or physical condition, which might have affected your test performance. Factors to consider could include recent surgeries, chronic medical conditions or other relevant circumstances impacting your testing ability.
Faulty or biased test design
Another way to challenge a field sobriety test is to challenge the design of the test. Some have criticized the tests for being flawed or biased. For example, tests that require walking with one foot directly in front of the other or balancing on one leg may be more challenging for injured, older or overweight individuals, even when sober.
An officer must properly maintain and calibrate the equipment to measure a person’s blood alcohol level to produce reliable and accurate results. If the equipment is not working correctly, you could challenge the equipment used for breathalyzer tests and the test results in court.
Drivers can protect their rights by contesting the results of field sobriety tests in court if they suspect inaccuracies.