A DUI traffic stop is frightening, especially if you do not know what to expect. Florida drunk driving laws are strict, and a conviction can lead to life-altering penalties. You may find it beneficial to understand what to expect from this type of traffic stop and the methods used to evaluate a driver’s sobriety.
There are only certain things that law enforcement officers can do when pulling over a driver. He or she cannot violate your rights, and there are only certain methods an officer can use to determine if a chemical test is necessary or there are grounds for an arrest.
Types of sobriety tests
There are standard sobriety tests that law enforcement officers use when stopping a driver for suspected drunk driving. These standardized tests are often employed before a chemical test, typically when a police officer is attempting to determine if a driver is drunk. These tests include the following:
- One-leg stand: A driver will have to stand on one leg for 30 seconds at a time without losing his or her balance. Lack of balance could indicate intoxication.
- Walk and turn: This is when a driver will take nine steps in a straight line, then turn on one foot to return to the starting point.
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus: An officer may ask a driver to follow an object with his or her eyes without jerking, losing focus or breaking eye contact.
These are ways that an officer can gauge a driver’s focus, mental clarity and physical capabilities when pulled over for suspected drunk driving. Standardized tests are supposed to protect the rights of drivers and ensure a uniform way to test drivers’ sobriety.
If you experienced a violation of your rights during a DUI traffic stop or you believe the sobriety tests were not appropriate or improperly administered, you have the right to fight back.
Fighting for your interests after a traffic stop
If your traffic stop and the subsequent arrest involved a violation of your rights or law enforcement’s standard operating procedures, you could move to seek a dismissal of all charges. An unlawful traffic stop is unacceptable, and you have the right to protect your interests, whether that is fighting the charges against you or challenging the legality of your arrest.
When drivers believe there are issues with the case against them or their traffic stop, they have the right to speak up and seek help. You may find it helpful to seek a complete evaluation of your case and explanation of your legal options.