Can Your Lawyer Challenge the Field Sobriety Tests?

Two tests are administered by the police when they suspect you are driving under the influence. You can be breathalyzed by the police or your blood could be tested. In addition, the police will administer field sobriety tests to you. In Nashville, these tests generally fall into two categories: standardized and non-standardized tests.

Field sobriety tests are not perfect. A DUI lawyer in Nashville can help you challenge an unreliable field sobriety test.

Field Sobriety Tests

Field tests typically include:

  • Counting one step forward and backward
  • A specified distance should be walked heel to toe, in a straight line
  • Holding your arms straight and touching the tip of your nose
  • Correctly recall the alphabets in ascending or descending order
  • Testing for Nystagmus or Horizontal/Vertical Gaze involves following a pen held one foot away from your face while it moves

Romberg Balance Test

To perform this test, you must stand with your feet together, tilt your head slightly back, and close your eyes. As soon as you believe it has been 30 minutes, the officer will ask you to stop.

A Report on Field Sobriety Test Reliability:

There is a great deal of concern about the reliability of field sobriety tests. New Jersey’s Supreme Court, for example, found the horizontal gaze nystagmus test to be unreliable, and studies have shown that the one-leg test to be reliable only 65% of the time. As a result, even if the officer provides the recipient with detailed instructions on how to perform the test, 35% of those tests are unreliable.

The walk-and-turn test is not much better. It shows reliability approximately 68% of the time. As with education and understanding, field sobriety tests do not have foolproof reliability and cannot be relied on exclusively to determine claims of DUI. When the three tests are performed together, they have an accuracy rate of 82%.

Field Sobriety Tests Face Additional Challenges:

There are many other factors that can influence field sobriety test results, in addition to the reliability of the test.

  • Physical Condition:

In some cases, an individual’s physical condition may prevent cops from completing the test. For example, if you have a knee injury, you may find it difficult to recover with just one leg. With that being said, if you have multiple sclerosis that affects your balance, even if you do not drink, a walk and turn test can still present a challenge to you. This is the reason why these tests might be an issue.

  • Medical Condition:

The quality of field sobriety tests can also be affected by other aspects of your physical condition. For instance, if you are overweight, you may have trouble doing this test. Senior citizens may also face problems of their own. It might also affect the way you perform the tests if you are anxious about being stopped by the police.

  • Location, Weather, and Lighting:

The traffic stop scene is a perfect example of weather, lighting, and location. You have slowed down, probably near the edge of a busy road. You exit the car and the officer expects you to get out. The wind hits you, and the noise level is probably high.

The side of the road may have potholes and litter, and the rough terrain may make it difficult for a sober person to complete the tests. Add the effect of blazing headlights and the strobe effect of oncoming traffic, and an extremely sober person would seem like a drunken person.

What If You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

The officer can still believe that you failed the test and stop you for drunk driving regardless of your situation. If you feel that you cannot pass the test, you have the right to refuse it. However, if you take that road, you have a very good chance of having your license suspended. Your DUI lawyer in Nashville can help you to clarify everything if you are certain that you have not been drinking or impaired in any way.

If you are taken in for a DUI, you will be required to take a breathalyzer. If you refuse the breathalyzer, you will have your license suspended for a year if you have had no DUI convictions within the last ten years.

Call a DUI Lawyer in Nashville:

In 2018, only 6,984 people were arrested for DUI by the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP). Around a thousand more were arrested for DUI by Tennessee’s local police departments.

If you are charged with a DUI, you need skilled legal representation. A DUI lawyer in Nashville is in a unique position to challenge the results of field sobriety tests for their clients. Know your rights and stay informed.

Get The Help You Deserve