Should I Participate In The Field Sobriety Exercises (FSEs) Requested By The Officer?
We wouldn’t recommend it. Chances are, if the officer is requesting that you perform FSEs, then you’re more than likely going to get arrested anyway. Furthermore, the test is flawed because it’s not objective and lacks scientific reliability—arguably, aside from the HGN test. An officer gets to subjectively determine if a person “fails,” based on the performance of an individual under subpar conditions—usually late at night, uneven road, cars passing by with their lights on, sometimes cold. When you factor in an individual’s anxieties, nerves, and being scared, how can you adequately perform under an officer’s subjective standards? Additionally, there is no Florida law that requires a person to perform a field sobriety test. Don’t give the State anymore evidence to use at trial.
But won’t that make me look guilty?
Not necessarily. There are many reasons why someone might not want to participate in the field sobriety exercises (FSEs). Maybe the person just received a hip or leg injury from a sport that might prevent them from performing up to standard—we strongly recommend letting the officer know that up front. Alternatively, maybe you have a nystagmus in your eye that would make the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) exercise obsolete. Maybe you have bad coordination or you’re naturally clumsy. Maybe you’ve had bad experiences with law enforcement in the past and you don’t feel comfortable interacting with them. As you can see, there are innumerable reasons why a person wouldn’t want to participate in arguably flawed exercises that even sober people have a difficult time “passing.” We recommend saying no to FSEs.