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Overview of field sobriety tests and DUI charges

There are hundreds of Florida residents who face drunk driving charges each year. DUI is one of the most common criminal charges that a person can face, so it is important for our readers to know what will occur during the investigation of a potential DUI arrest. One important feature of such an investigation is field sobriety tests.

Most people are at least somewhat familiar with field sobriety tests, having seen generic versions of these tests on TV or in movies. The tests are not conclusive, but are used by police officers to attempt to gauge a person's intoxication during a DUI investigation.

The first field sobriety test that is usually administered is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, more easily identified as the "follow the tip of my pen with your eyes" test. In this test, the police officer will typically hold a ballpoint pen in front of the suspect's eyes, move it back and forth from side to side and watch for jerking movements in the suspect's eyes. Such jerking movements can be a sign of intoxication.

The next test is the walk and turn test - or "walk the line" test. In this test, the police officer will ask the suspect to walk along a straight line, toe to heel, and then turn around and walk back. This test helps the officer determine how well the suspect can follow directions. Lastly, there is the one leg stand test. In this test, as the name obviously implies, the police officer asks the suspect to stand on one leg and count, usually to 30. This test helps the police officer assess the suspect's balance, the lack of which could be a sign of intoxication.

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