There are many aspects to a DUI case. Some of the more important evidence occurs when an officer asks a driver to step from their vehicle and perform exercises at the side of the road. Commonly those are called field sobriety exercises, or in other parts of the country they’re called field sobriety tests.
Florida courts have ruled that the officers can’t call them tests and these exercises can’t be given any scientific validity. They can only be testified to as what they call ‘lay observations of the officers’. In other words something anybody could have seen. You don’t need any training, and they can’t be given any scientific significance.
So an officer can tell a jury if you were swaying while you stood there, or if your foot came off of the line. They can’t say what that meant to them. Okay?
We – all of the attorneys at Katz & Phillips who handle DUI cases have been trained in the proper way to administer and perform these exercises. Often officers take a training course in the academy and 20 years later, without having ever taken a refresher course, they’re on the side of the road instructing drivers who they’ve stopped how to do the exercises and they’re instructing them incorrectly.
And incorrect instructions can lead to bad results. These exercises have been standardized. They are to be given the exact same way by every officer in the country no matter where you are. And if you don’t follow the standardized instructions the validity of the results is compromised.
Having an attorney who knows the way that these exercises are to be administered is one of the best ways to defend against these – to defend against a DUI case.