Experienced Franklin DUI Attorneys Explain the Role of Field Sobriety Tests
Skilled representation for the accused in Franklin, Brentwood, Columbia, and beyond
When you get pulled over under the suspicion of DUI, you may be asked to get out of your vehicle and perform a sequence of field sobriety tests. The tests are standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which means no matter where you are pulled over, you will be given the same three tests. Furthermore, it is expected that every officer will give the tests in the same exact way.
At the Law Office of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we provide aggressive, effective representation for people who have been accused of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. From our offices in Columbia, Brentwood and Franklin, our DUI defense lawyers work to have your charges dropped completely whenever possible.
Do you have to submit to a field sobriety test?
No, you don’t. Just like you can deny a breath or chemical test, you do not have to undergo the field sobriety tests, either.
FSTs are given for one reason only: to “prove” whether or not you are too impaired to drive. They only serve the interest of the officer who pulled you over. Even if you pass the tests, you can still be charged with DUI in Tennessee. Furthermore, the officer who stopped you is not required to tell you that you can refuse the tests.
How do the field sobriety tests work?
If you decide to comply, you will be asked to undergo three specific tests, which work in the following ways:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN). This is the test where the officer shines a light in your eye, or asks you to follow a pen or his/her finger as it’s moved from side to side. It is considered the most accurate of the tests, because the movement of your eyeballs is involuntary.
- Walk and Turn (WAT). In this test, an officer will ask you to walk a straight line, heel to toe, for nine steps; then, you will be asked to turn and walk back. It is designed to check for a number of things, including your balance and your ability to “multi-task.”
- One Leg Stand (OLS). In this test, you are asked to stand and hold one foot up off the ground (approximately six inches) in front of you for about 30 seconds. Like the WAT, it is a balance test of sorts.
Each of these tests has a series of signs that officers are trained to look for, which indicate that a person is likely impaired. If the officer sees these signs, and also has a reading for a breath test, he or she will use these factors as evidence that you are driving drunk or under the influence of drugs. You will be charged with DUI, and if convicted, will end up losing your license and be forced to pay hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars in fines.
Can you “beat” a field sobriety test?
One of the questions our clients asks us the most is whether or not it’s possible to “beat” the field sobriety tests. We tell them, as we tell you, to remember this: every person who is stopped for suspicion of DUI is different, and will respond to these tests differently – sober or not. Every officer who administers the tests does so a little differently as well, which means that there is a purely subjective component to the FSTs.
In short, field sobriety tests are not infallible, and under certain circumstances, they may not even be admissible. Yes, it is possible to build a defense on behalf of someone who “failed” the field sobriety tests during a DUI stop in Tennessee.
Our attorneys in Columbia, Franklin and Brentwood have had years of experience doing exactly that. We know how local and state law enforcement will administer these tests, and we know where the weak spots are. We know the DUI laws well, and we work aggressively and efficiently to uphold your rights and defend your freedom. When you hire a DUI defense attorney from our firm, you can rest easy that your best interests are always our interests, and that we will do whatever is possible under the law to protect you.
Contact us if you were charged with DUI after undergoing field sobriety tests
The Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates has earned its reputation for skilled and aggressive defense against DUI charges. Our attorneys in Franklin, Brentwood and Columbia understand how field sobriety tests work, and we can build a strong defense on your behalf. Please call 615-977-9370 or fill out our contact form to learn more. We are proud to represent people in Brentwood, Columbia, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Lawrenceburg, Pulaski and Spring Hill, and the surrounding areas.