DUI Roadside Testing


The criminal defense attorneys of the Colter Law Group of Stuart, FL represent individuals who have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Many individuals who retain the services of our Martin County criminal defense lawyers have concerns over their performance on the standardized field sobriety exercises—usually referred to as "roadside tests." And while it is true that their performance during the field sobriety tests may have an impact on their criminal defense, law enforcement officers in the state of Florida are required to administer the exercises according to exacting standards. Any aberration could result in a successful motion to suppress and even an acquittal. To discuss your DUI case, contact our South Florida law office.

Voluntary Field Sobriety Exercise in the State of Florida

If you performed field sobriety exercises during your DUI traffic stop, it was probably video recorded for future courtroom presentation. If this is the case, as your defense attorneys, we will thoroughly examine the recording when we obtain the evidence through discovery. Law enforcement officers frequently make mistakes when they are administering field sobriety exercises, and any error could support your defense. In order for a police officer to administer field sobriety exercises, he or she is required to:

  • Select a place that is clean, well lit, and safe for the driver
  • Explain that the exercises are voluntary
  • Ask the driver if he or she has any medical conditions that would preclude his or her ability to complete the exercises
  • Verbally explain each exercise
  • Physically demonstrate each exercise

The field sobriety exercises are standardized for the state of Florida. They include:

Walk and Turn: The driver must take nine steps with his or her heel touching the toe on each step. The driver then turns and repeats the nine steps coming back. Investigating officers will note whether there are gaps in the steps, unsteadiness, missed counts, et cetera.

Finger to Nose: The officer will instruct the driver to close his or her eyes, hold his or her head back, and touch the tip of the finger to his or her nose six times, with the officer calling out which hand the driver should use. The investigating officer will be looking to see if the driver uses the wrong hand, misses the nose, or is unable to maintain balance.

The One-Leg Stand: The driver will stand with one leg raised six inches from the ground while counting for thirty seconds. The officer will watch for loss of balance, missed count, and holding the hands out to the side for balance.

What Voluntary Roadside Exercises Means

It's important to recognize the fact that roadside exercises are deliberately difficult, even for a relatively sober person. Furthermore, if the video is admitted into court, it can be a very compelling indication of guilt for the jury. Law enforcement officers in Stuart and Martin County usually only ask drivers to submit to voluntary roadside exercises when they are determined to make a DUI arrest. Consequently, it is often in the driver's best interest to refuse to participate in field sobriety testing.

If you have any questions about Florida's drunk driving laws, field sobriety testing, or if you have been arrested for DUI, contact the attorneys of the Colter Law Group. The number to our Stuart office is (772) 888-0883.