What The Police Don’t Want You To Know About Field Sobriety “Tests”

  • Nov 17 2019

A Florida Keys woman made headlines for singing “One, two, three, four, get your booty on the floor” and yelling at the cops who asked her to do a field sobriety exercise. 

A man had a video of himself doing splits during a field sobriety exercise played on the evening news. While the cops thought his acrobatics were “impressive,” they were not pleased with his behavior. 

Exposing the Truth About Field Sobriety Tests

The proliferation of dashboard cams and body cams have made sobriety checks into a spectator sport. It is embarrassing for the people who have their least proud moments shared with the world, but it also highlights how ridiculous field sobriety exercises actually are. 

At best, field sobriety exercises —  they aren’t even allowed to be called field sobriety tests in court because they are so unreliable — are a tool the police can use to extend the amount of time they are able to detain and observe a driver they suspect is impaired without actually arresting them. At their worst, they are a trap that can trick sober drivers into appearing intoxicated.

At Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC, we regularly help people in the Miami area who have been charged with a DUI after failing a field sobriety exercise fight to clear their name. In a previous blog post, we outlined the three main field sobriety exercises and their biggest flaws. In this post, we will discuss something that impacts all kinds of traffic stops — flashing lights. 

Trigger Warning

Most people have an immediate, negative reaction when they see flashing lights. It makes them nervous because it is associated with getting a ticket or coming across an emergency like a fire or accident. This, and their disorienting effect, is one of the reasons why strobe lights feature so prominently in haunted houses. 

Flashing Lights Cause Health Problems 

Flashing lights can be very dangerous. They can trigger photosensitive epilepsy and flicker vertigo.

Photosensitive epilepsy is rare. People who suffer from photosensitive epilepsy have seizures that are triggered by flashing lights or contrasting light and dark patterns. 

Many people experience flicker vertigo. Flicker vertigo causes epilepsy-like symptoms, like nausea, rapid blinking, rapid eye movements, loss of fine motor functions, and muscle rigidity. You can imagine how difficult it would be to successfully complete a field sobriety exercise when your vision and movement are impaired. 

Fight Back Against the Flash

If you were arrested for driving under the influence because you failed the field sobriety exercises, and the police had their flashing lights on the whole time, you should consider contesting the charges. Flashing lights interfere with every single one of the approved field sobriety exercises. 

Even if the cops have video of you falling over or otherwise making a fool of yourself trying to follow their directions, there is a good chance you can have the results of the roadside exercises thrown out. 

Please contact our office if you are interested in challenging DUI charges brought against you after you “failed” a field sobriety “test.”

Posted in: DUI