Am I Required to Participate in Field Sobriety Tests?
No. In the event that you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer and asked to take field sobriety tests, you will not receive any legal penalty for declining to do so. If an officer asks you to submit to field sobriety tests, they are trying to determine your relative level of impairment and studying you for evidence of a crime. Whether or not you pass these tests is at the subjective discretion of the officer.
Field sobriety tests include exercises like walking a straight line along the edge of the street, touching your nose with one finger, and standing on one leg. These tests are surprisingly hard, especially if you are tired, incredibly anxious, or have certain medical conditions. In fact, it is not uncommon for people who are below the legal limit to submit to field sobriety tests… and fail them.
However, if you are arrested and taken to a police station, you will be required to take a blood, breath, or urine test. You can refuse to take field sobriety tests without penalty. That being said, be aware that declining to take chemical tests that help determine your blood alcohol content level could result in the immediate suspension of your driver’s license as a violation of Tennessee’s “Implied Consent Law.” In short, the implied consent law says that by driving a vehicle you have agreed to submit to chemical tests of your breath, blood, or urine to determine alcohol or drug content.
If you are in legal trouble due to an alcohol-related, roadway encounter with law enforcement or you need help defending a DUI charge, we are happy to be your Nashville DUI lawyers.