Pensacola Defense Lawyers

Why the Field Sobriety Tests?

Posted on Tuesday, September 24th, 2019 at 1:01 pm    

You’ve probably watched DUI stops on television and in the movies. Maybe you’ve seen them on those reality cop shows. You’ve probably watched as the cop pulled the person over, asked the driver if he or she was drinking, and told the person to step outside of the car to perform drunk tests, which are actually called “field sobriety tests.”

Now, it’s happening to you. Perhaps you ate a big meal before you had several beers so you thought you were fine to drive. Or, perhaps you drank vodka with Red Bull and you assumed you were a wide wake, but what you really were was a “wide-awake drunk” because contrary to popular belief, caffeine, whether it’s from black coffee or energy drinks does NOT sober someone up. Only time will do that. Back to the field sobriety tests, what are they anyway?

Field Sobriety Tests Explained

The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST), which is commonly referred to as the “field sobriety tests,” is a combination of three specific tests that a drunk driving suspect performs during a traffic stop to determine if the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of the two.

The field sobriety tests were developed back in the 1970s and have been widely used by law enforcement ever since. The three tests include: 1) the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, 2) the walk-and-turn test, and 3) the one-leg stand test.

Are the SFSTs Legally Required?

A lot of drivers do not realize it, but the field sobriety tests are not legally required. This means that if you’re pulled over on suspicion of DUI and the officer asks you to perform the field sobriety tests, you are not required to perform them, and there is no penalty for refusing. “What are the advantages of me refusing the field sobriety tests?”

Here’s the deal: Most of the time field sobriety tests are recorded on the officer’s dashcam and on the officer’s body cam. They are done to obtain probable cause to make a DUI arrest, so any evidence of you performing poorly on the SFSTs will be used against you in court! What do you do? Instead of taking the SFSTs, our advice is to politely refuse to take the tests since no good could possibly come out of them.

Next: Can I Get Fired for a DUI in Florida?

“But can’t the tests help me if I only had a little to drink?” No! These divided attention tests are extremely difficult to perform and even a sober person can fail them. Besides, you don’t have to have a Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) of .08% to get a DUI in Florida. All that matters is that the state can prove that your ability to drive safely was impaired by the introduction of alcohol or drugs.

Facing DUI charges? Contact the Morris Law, PLLC to schedule a free case evaluation.


How a DUI Can Impact Education Possibilities

Posted on Tuesday, September 10th, 2019 at 1:01 pm    

In our society and particularly Florida, which is known for being a spring break destination, drinking and partying is a common part of everyday life, especially among college students. College students often drink alcohol after exams, on Friday and Saturday nights, and sometimes on a daily basis.

If you’re in a college fraternity or sorority, you know how common alcohol is among the college crowd. The problem is, alcohol consumption can lead to drinking and driving, which can lead to a DUI, which can impact a student’s educational opportunities, not to mention their future. But how is this so? Let us count the ways.

There Are Many Ways DUI Impacts Education

Here are examples of how a DUI can affect educational opportunities:

  • If you are applying for a scholarship, it can be denied because of your criminal record.
  • If you are on a college sports team, the coach can have zero tolerance for DUI and kick you off.
  • If you are kicked off a college sports team because of a DUI and you were on an athletic scholarship, you can lose the scholarship.
  • You can be denied entry into a prestigious college of your choice because of the DUI conviction.
  • You can be kicked out of a college that has no tolerance for criminal behavior.
  • If you are studying for a professional license, such as a nursing license or a real estate license, etc., it can be denied because of the criminal conviction.
  • If you’re pursuing a degree in medicine or law, the DUI could ruin your plans.
  • If your educational plan involves becoming a teacher or working for the government, the DUI could prohibit you from pursuing your dreams.
  • If you plan on studying for a special career that requires a security clearance, your security clearance application can be denied because of the DUI.

DUIs and all criminal behavior for that matter can impact a college education or the pursuit of a professional or occupational license. Many schools and professional licensing boards have strict rules against criminal convictions, so a DUI often impacts college entry, scholarships, college athletics, and professional licenses.

If you’re in high school or college and facing DUI charges, our advice is to contact the Morris Firm, PLLC at once to schedule a meeting with an attorney who cares about your educational future.