Field Sobriety Tests

Challenging DUI Field Sobriety Tests

breathalyzer test

In the event that a law enforcement official has pulled you over for driving while under the influence, they will request that you complete at least one field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are a set of aptitude tests which challenge your degree of alertness, your physical coordination, and your capacity to adhere to guidelines. At the point when a driver can effectively finish these tests, it is characteristic that the person in question is not impaired. Nonetheless, if a driver is unsuccessful in completing at least one field sobriety test, it gives the arresting officer reason to place the driver under arrest for Driving Under the Influence. 

Types of Field Sobriety Tests

Generally speaking, law enforcement officials around the world may employ the use of countless field sobriety tests; nevertheless, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has established that only three of those tests may lawfully prove the exhibition of inebriation: 

  • Walk and Turn Test – The driver of the vehicle is told to take nine steps from heel to toe in an orderly fashion, turn in a particular way, and come back over that line the opposite way. Indications of inebriation incorporate loss of balance, making an incorrect number of strides, inappropriate turn, or by generally not adhering to guidelines. 
  • One-Leg Stand Test – The driver is told to remain standing, but on only one foot, and to raise the other foot six inches above the ground while counting to thirty aloud. Indications of inebriation are raising arms, hopping, loss of composure, halting before reaching the count of thirty, contacting the raised foot to the ground, and generally not adhering to directions. 
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test – The driver is told to keep their gaze fixated on a pen held before the driver and to follow said pen’s movement with the eyes but not to turn the head. Indications of inebriation are failure to follow the pen, absence of smooth quest for the eyes, or indications of nystagmus, for example jerking of the eyes. 

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Field Sobriety Testing Facts

Despite the fact that field sobriety testing is standard procedure in Tennessee, such tests are often profoundly inaccurate when determining inebriation. Such tests are known as “divided attention tests”, requiring an individual to zero in on more than one action simultaneously. They are not natural tests, and the vast majority of people are unable to complete these assessments regardless of whether they have had anything to drink due to the surface whereupon the test is directed, climate conditions, kind of footwear, absence of coordination, prior injuries, sleepiness, illness, and more. These field sobriety tests are successful indicators of an individual’s actual inebriation only if they are conducted appropriately and under controlled circumstances. Subsequently, these tests are not objectively evaluated, i.e. to pass each test will be dependent exclusively upon the arresting officer’s own opinion.

Defending Field Sobriety Tests

There are productive approaches one can take when challenging the accuracy or acceptability of field sobriety tests. Much of the time, the arresting official will conduct the tests inappropriately, which yields invalid test results as well as false indications of inebriation. Moreover, there may be uncontrollable issues at hand aside from inebriation which can prevent an individual’s capacity to complete the test sufficiently.

Contact a Nashville DUI Defense Lawyer

In the event that you have been charged with Under the Influence in Nashville, you should employ a skilled and experienced DUI lawyer who is well acquainted with the best DUI safeguard techniques necessary to viably represent you in your case. Nashville DUI defense attorneys at Nashville Law Offices, PLLC have been practicing DUI defense law for more than 25 years, and are focused on protecting your privileges consistently, steadily battling to win your case in court. Contact Nashville Law Offices, PLLC to schedule your free initial consultation and to speak with a DUI attorney today!

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