When drivers in Florida are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, they can probably expect to face a series of questions and tests from the investigating officer. Many times, drunk driving stops are conducted after a police officer observes erratic driving, or possibly even just a small traffic violation. But if, during the interaction with a driver, the officer suspects that the driver may be operating the vehicle under the influence of alcohol, the traffic stop will likely take on a different tone.
So, what can you expect from field sobriety tests? Well, in general, there are three common field sobriety tests that are conducted during drunk driving stops: the “walk-and-turn” test; the “one-leg stand” test and the “horizontal gaze nystagmus” test.
Field sobriety test overview
The “horizontal gaze nystagmus” test is probably more commonly recognized as the “follow the tip of my pen with your eyes” test. In this test, an officer will hold a pen in front of the suspect’s eyes and then move it slowly from side to side, asking the suspect to follow the tip with eyes only. As this occurs, the officer is looking for involuntary jerking in the eye movements, which can be an indication of intoxication.
The “one-leg stand” test is fairly straightforward: The suspect is asked to balance standing only on one leg for a duration of time. In the “walk-and-turn” test, the suspect is asked to walk along a straight line, toe to toe, and then turn and return on the same line. In these tests, the officer looks for balance and coordination issues, as well as the suspect’s ability to listen to instructions. Any deviations could be construed as signs of intoxication, and that could lead to an arrest.