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Tampa Criminal Defense
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A Look At Tampa Field Sobriety Tests

Bright lights flashing in your rearview mirror. And so begins the Tampa DUI process. Other than a quick conversation with the Florida Highway Patrol officer in your case, your first real contact with the police in a Tampa driving under the influence investigation will come in the form of your field sobriety tests.

In Tampa, there are three standardized field sobriety tests used. Unfortunately for you, these tests are designed for you to fail and give the local police yet another chance to make a DUI arrest. Everything from the intimidating atmosphere on the side of the road with other drivers watching you to the hasty explanation of each test can serve to frustrate your ability to pass the test.

Here’s a look at the three Tampa field sobriety tests you may encounter (if you haven’t already):

  1. The Eye Test: Also know by the more formal name of “horizontal gaze nystagmus”, the eye test is checking whether the driver suspected of a DUI is able to follow an object with his or her eye. Often using a pen, the police officer will move the pen left to right to test how easy (or difficult) it is for the driver to complete the task. Involuntary jerking of the eyes is an intoxication sign that the officers are all too eager to identify in this test.
  2. The Walk and Turn Test: This is the test you most commonly see in television and movies. An individual being asked to put one foot in front of another and then do the same in the opposite direction. What the officers are looking for here is whether the driver is able to understand the instructions and perform the test with adequate coordination. Failing any of aspect of this test will seem like a total failure.
  3. The One-Leg Stand: Both the one-leg stand and walk and turn test may be testing coordination you do not currently have (because of a recent injury) or have never possessed (because of a disability)—these limiting factors are something the police at this time simply do not care too much about. This divided attention test has the driver standing on one foot while raising the other foot approximately six inches off the ground and counting out loud the entire time. There are a lot of opportunities to fail this test—forgetting to count, losing balance etc.

As you can see from the explanations, whether you pass or fail a Tampa field sobriety test is really a subjective determination by the officer in your case. That being said, there are many viable defenses available to a failed field sobriety test as evidence of intoxication.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Tampa, a DUI lawyer can help you with your case. The attorneys at Finebloom & Haenel P.A. are available day and night to discuss the legal options in front of you and get an explanation of the process in plain English. Give us a call today for a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!

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