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Lawyer Bernie McEvoy

Field Sobriety Testing

DUI Defense Attorney Advising Drivers in Nashville and Beyond

The police will usually ask a person suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs to undergo field sobriety testing. Although field sobriety tests are frequently inaccurate, the prosecution may attempt to use them as evidence against you in a DUI case. Nashville DUI lawyer Bernie McEvoy knows it is often possible to mount a defense against field sobriety test results, whether you have been arrested for a first-time or repeat DUI. If you have questions concerning a DUI arrest in Williamson or Davidson County, Bernie McEvoy can examine the field sobriety testing to identify any issues that may help in your defense.

Field Sobriety Tests for DUI

To discern whether a driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol, Tennessee law enforcement officers may utilize multiple processes, including field sobriety testing. Field sobriety tests allow the police to evaluate a driver’s coherence and coordination, as well as look for physical signs of intoxication. Accordingly, if you are pulled over in Tennessee on suspicion of drunk or drugged driving, you may be asked to step out of your vehicle for field sobriety testing. Although the police have no duty advise you of your right to refuse, is important to know that you are under no obligation to take a field sobriety test, and there is no legal penalty for declining. However, refusing a breath or other chemical test may result in civil penalties, and you could still face criminal charges if the officer has probable cause to arrest you for driving under the influence.

Police officers typically administer a series of field sobriety tests. There are three standardized tests approved by the Transportation Safety Administration. During the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, the driver is instructed to watch and follow the movement of an object, such as a pen or finger, with their eyes. The Walk and Turn Test calls for the driver to walk nine steps, heel to toe, in a straight line away from the officer without using their arms for balance, turn, and repeat walking back towards the officer. The One Leg Stand Test requires the driver to stand on one leg while raising the other leg six inches off the ground for approximately thirty seconds. If the police officer finds that you exhibited signs of intoxication during the tests and has probable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may be arrested for a DUI offense.

Disputing a Field Sobriety Test After Arrest

If you have been charged with a DUI offense, the arresting officer may testify at trial about your ability to complete the field sobriety tests. The defense will have the opportunity to cross-examine the officer and may present evidence to rebut the officer’s conclusions. Retaining an experienced DUI attorney may be advantageous in identifying any possible defenses to the charges. If the police officer did not provide you with the correct testing instructions, or if the test was given under difficult conditions, for example, the defense may argue that the results are inaccurate or invalid due to improper testing. In cases where the driver was illegally pulled over, the defense may challenge the admissibility of field sobriety tests conducted during the unlawful stop. In addition, there may be legitimate reasons that prevent people from adequately performing a field sobriety test. If you have a physical limitation from an injury or disability, or suffered from extreme sleep deprivation, or there are other circumstances that affected your ability to complete the testing, the defense may argue that the results are not due to intoxication. Reviewing your DUI charge with a skilled defense attorney may assist you in determining the best approach to your specific case.

Discuss Your DUI Tests With a Nashville Lawyer

Criminal defense attorney Bernie McEvoy can defend individuals against criminal charges in Nashville, Franklin, or anywhere else in Davidson or Williamson Counties. In addition to DUIs, Mr. McEvoy handles cases concerning drug-related offenses, domestic violence, sex crimes, and others. Schedule a consultation by calling the Law Office of Bernie McEvoy at (615) 255-9595 or (615) 804-8779 after business hours and weekends, or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

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