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Different field sobriety tests

The police arrest thousands of people in Florida every year for driving under the influence of alcohol. In 2013, police issued DUI traffic tickets to 49,776 drivers in Florida.

Before making an arrest, a police officer may make the person perform various field sobriety tests to determine whether he or she needs to go to a station. People in this situation need strong DUI defenses to avoid a conviction, and part of this defense comes down to the exact tests the driver performed. 

Horizontal gaze nystagmus

This test occurs when a police officer moves a light in front of a person’s eyes. People with a high blood alcohol content level will have an involuntary twitch when the pupil moves past 45 degrees. 

One-leg stand

With this test, the driver needs to stand on one leg while the other leg is six inches off the ground. While doing this, a police officer will give commands to the person, such as hopping or turning. This is to see if a person can follow simple commands with divided attention. 

Walk-and-turn

This is a common field sobriety test officers use to see if a person can maintain a certain level of equilibrium. A person needs to walk in a straight line while putting one foot in front of the other. Similarly to the one-leg stand, an officer wants to see if a driver can follow simple instructions. 

Romberg alphabet test

This is a test to determine a driver’s neurological clarity. This test requires the driver to recite the alphabet backwards. However, officers do not use this test as much as the others because there are a variety of other factors that affect how well a person performs. For example, a completely sober person can mess up due to nervousness.

These tests are helpful to an extent, but at the end of the day, a police officer will utilize a breathalyzer or a more concrete test to determine a person’s BAC. A driver should pay attention to what exactly an officer did on the site when building a DUI defense. 

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