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Roadside Field Sobriety Tests

Fort Lauderdale DUI Lawyer William Moore says that getting to the point of a police officer conducting roadside field sobriety tests requires several tests. When a police officer pulls over a driver, he may decide to conduct a DUI investigation based on a variety of different factors that the law enforcement official believes give rise to reasonable suspicion that a crime is being or has been committed. The facts that give rise to this suspicion (if they do in fact support support reasonable suspicion — a hunch, for instance, is wholly insufficient) may arise before or after the traffic stop takes place, or both. Facts that might lead an officer to conduct an investigation include noticing a vehicle weaving, driving very slowly, failing to maintain a single traffic line, crossing yellow lines, and not obeying traffic laws more generally. Car crashes may also be a factor, especially where only one car is involved. After the officer has already decided to pull over a driver, he or she may also observe other factors indicative of intoxication, such as red, bloodshot, or watery eyes, the odor of alcohol (or marijuana), flushed skin, slurred speech, or other signs. Many police reports contain these specific allegations, notes Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer William Moore Criminal Defense.

Upon becoming suspicious that a DUI may be taking place, the officer will usually ask a suspect to comply with field sobriety tests on the side of the road. These tests are voluntary and refusal to participate in the field sobriety tests will not affect your driver’s license. However, refusal to submit may factor into the police officer’s decision to arrest the suspect and may be used against the driver later if a DUI charge is filed. Refusal to submit to breath, urine, or if necessary, blood testing will result in the suspension of the driver’s license, which may be challenged in an administrative hearing before the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles and Highway Safety. In fact, if you have previously refused a BAC test before, the state will likely file a criminal refusal charge, which is a misdemeanor.

Unfortunately, independent studies show that, on the whole, police officers tend to overestimate the number of drivers who are intoxicated, says Broward criminal attorney William Moore Criminal Defense. One study in particular showed that law enforcement officers who were given a group of people to test and were under the impression that some of them might be under the influence of an intoxicant — when in reality, none of them were actually intoxicated at all — documented an alarming number of signs the officers believed indicated that the subjects were in fact intoxicated.

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