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Can I see the Field Sobriety Exercises, I completed?

Tampa driving under the influence attorneys are often asked about the specifics of the field sobriety exercises completed during a DUI arrest.   In short, generally yes, the field sobriety exercises, more commonly referred to as FSEs, are videoed by the overwhelming majority of law enforcement agencies in the greater Tampa area. The exercise will be videotaped by either a handheld camera or a camera mounted in the dashboard of the police cruiser, just like you see in police shows like cops.

Ultimately, each camera angle of the field sobriety exercises offers pros and cons to DUI defense attorneys. The handheld video cameras offer a more close-up view of the accused, including the expression on their face, the appearance of their eyes, and other nonverbal cues. Ultimately these images and videos generally are more shaky because they are being held by an observer’s hand as opposed to mounted in a police cruiser. DUI attorneys are often able to argue that the movement of the camera offsets or overemphasizes any movement of the cues, including swaying during the one leg test and other tests. This is also effective at further illustrating and identifying reasonable doubt in DUI cases, and providing that our clients are found not guilty.

Videos of DUI traffic stops from cameras mounted in police cruisers also offer positives and negatives. For example, where these cameras are mounted in police cruisers, there is no sway or shake in the camera. This eliminates arguments concerning the camera moving, not the accused. Fortunately, these cameras are often further away and are unable to properly illustrate many nonverbal cues in the accused’s face. For example, a preferred Field Sobriety Exercise by law enforcement is called the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test. This test is performed by law enforcement officer raising his/her pointer finger/pen and moving approximately 6 inches to the right of the accused face and 6 inches to the left of the accused face. This test is attempting to determine whether nystagmus, which is most easily described as rapid random vibration of one’s eyes is occuring.  If a camera is greater than approximately 6 feet away, it is almost impossible to capture one’s eyes in such detail. This is even more significant, when one considers that the majority of DUI investigations occur at night and in poorly lighted areas, such as parking lots and on the side of roads.

Ultimately, whether you choose to watch the video of your field sobriety exercises or not is your decision. Many DUI defense attorneys strongly encourage their client to watch and consider the same to assist them in deciding whether they are interested in pleading to the charge or taking the case to trial. This is because it is almost impossible to determine whether you should go to trial and not without at least considering will likely be the centerpiece of the trial. The DUI attorneys of Hackworth Law always encourage their clients to do so.

If you or someone you know has questions regarding the video evidence of their driving under the influence arrest or field sobriety exercises completed during a DUI arrest, contact driving under the influence attorneys of Hackworth Law, P. A. for a free case consultation.  As we’ve mentioned elsewhere in this blog, it is important in driving under the influence cases to act quickly because you only have 10 days to schedule or request a formal waiver of your DHSMV hearing regarding the status of your license.  If you would like to chat with one of our DUI attorneys immediately, please use our free chat box in the lower left hand corner of our website.  We look forward to working with you in this very important matter.