Teaching Attorneys How to Handle Their First DUI Case: The Basics of DUI Science CLE
Standard Field Sobriety Exercises in South Florida DUI Cases
Standard Field Sobriety Exercises, or SFSE for short, are a series of tasks administered by law enforcement officers during a DUI investigation. They are often inaccurately referred to as “tests”. The word “exercises” is much more accurate in describing them as these tasks require physical skill and dexterity to complete.
- SFSE’s are not administered to establish a suspect’s innocence
- SFSE’s are administered to establish “probable cause” for an arrest
- SFSE’s do not create evidence of “guilt beyond a reasonable doubt”
List of Field Sobriety Exercises Used by Law Enforcement During a DUI Investigation:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)
- Finger-to-Nose (not officially recognized by NHTSA)
- Rhomberg Balance (not officially recognized by NHTSA)
What is Being Evaluated During Field Sobriety Exercises on DUI Cases?
The police are ultimately trying to determine whether or not you are impaired during a DUI investigation. The purpose of the field sobriety exercises is to evaluate whether or not your normal faculties are impaired.
Normal Faculties Evaluated in a DUI Investigation:
- Mental state
- Ability to act in emergencies
- Ability to make judgments
The Intoxilyzer 8000 (Also Known as the Breathalyzer or “Breath Test”)
The breathalyzer is used to determine an individual’s blood alcohol content. Breath tests are often not administered while a suspect is pulled over the side of the road during DUI investigations in South Florida. They are often administered when the suspect is taken to jail. This is often problematic as the breath test may not accurately reflect the blood alcohol level of the individual at the time of the incident.
Facts on the Intoxilyzer 8000
- The breathalyzer machine was first manufactured in 2001 and has been in use in Florida since 2006
- The breathalyzer machine is older than the original smartphones
- The breathalyzer runs on the outdated Windows VISTA operating system
- The breathalyzer uses outdated infrared radiation technology
Blood and Urine Samples in a DUI Investigation
Urine samples are considered unreliable when used to evaluate drug use at the time of the incident. A urine sample can determine if an individual has used a controlled substance but cannot determine when the individual used the substance nor how much of the substance was used.
Blood samples are only used during the following cases:
- DUI Manslaughter
- Vehicular Homicide
- DUI with Serious Bodily Injury
- Other circumstances when a breath test is impossible or impractical to conduct