sobriety tasks

Field Sobriety Tasks

A police officer may only arrest someone suspected of driving under the influence if there is reasonable cause for doing so. An officer may ask the driver to stop, step out of the vehicle, and perform field sobriety tests. Officers are trained to conduct several varieties of these exams, which may challenge one’s cognitive skills, balance, focus, and concentration.

Many of these tests have become standardized across the nation. In particular, Tennessee uses three Field Sobriety Task “tests” issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Since alcohol and certain drugs are known to have an effect on many of the body’s functions, the field sobriety tasks are designed to challenge those functions. Based on the individual’s performance, the officer may have enough proof to arrest them for DUI for failing one of these tests.

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DUI Defense Expectations

What to Expect

Being charged with a DUI is life-altering. It is a set-back that no one can afford to take lightly. Collins Legal’s DUI defense team has two priorities for all DUI clients.

  1. Dispose of the charge.
  2. Give clients the confidence to move forward with life.

With a decade of experience, our DUI defense team knows the prosecutions’ arguments, the requisite procedures officers should follow, and the law. The lead DUI defense attorney served as a DUI prosecutor for five years – in two separate District Attorney’s offices. Under his leadership, the DUI defense team ensures Collins Legal’s DUI clients are well taken care of.

Important Information To Know

Tennessee Field Sobriety Tests Explained

  • The officer will ask the driver to follow his or her finger. This is meant to test the individual’s ability to focus and follow. An officer may also look for signs of eye twitching, an involuntary reaction when someone has been drinking, and can immediately give way to signs of intoxication.

  • This is a test of the driver’s balance, ability to follow directions, and ability to multitask. The driver must walk forward for nine steps, heel to toe. The walk and turn test is widely known to have a high fail rate, even when tested on sober individuals.

  • The police officer will have the driver lift one leg at least six inches from the ground for at least 30 seconds. Both arms must be at the driver’s side and straight. An officer may suspect that someone is drunk if the person puts his or her foot down or uses their arms or hops to keep balance.

important information to know

Room for Error

While field sobriety tests are standard procedures, there can be room for error.

Not every individual responds similarly to these tests. Not everyone can physically perform these tests. These tests are quite difficult to perform – even for individuals not using alcohol.

Officers are not foolproof in their administration of the Field Sobriety Tasks. When officers lack training or administer the tests incorrectly, the test results become invalid as they produced a failed outcome.

It is important to have an expert watch the officer’s video of the individual’s performance of the Field Sobriety Tasks to determine whether there were any circumstances leading to an error in the test’s outcome.

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