One of the most common misconceptions about drunk driving is that .08 is a magic number. People believe that if you have a blood alcohol level below that number, the police are unable to charge you with a DUI. But, the law is more flexible than you think.
Florida law is clear: if you an officer pulls you over and you are visibly impaired, you can also be charged with a DUI. There are many ways for officers to determine if you are visibly impaired, including through sobriety tests.
Common sobriety tests
There are many types of field sobriety testing, and you may even have seen an officer conducting them. Some common tests include:
- Being able to walk in a straight line
- Balancing on one leg
- Counting backwards or reciting parts of the alphabet
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test
These tests have issues. Many people with chronic inner ear issues, vertigo, cognitive impairment or other physical inability struggle to pass these tests under regular circumstances. The HGN test looks for jerky pupil movements to indicate intoxication but can be an issue for individuals with a variety of eye disorders. This is why officers will often use more than one test.
Disputing a DUI
Because sobriety testing is often subjective, there is room to dispute your charges. You will need a full understanding of the tests used in your case and clear exonerating evidence, but it can be done.