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What to Expect When Pulled Over for Suspicion of DUI

Posted on in DUI/DWI

Campbell County DUI lawyer

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the number of alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes has dropped in Campbell County since 2014, but so far this year, there have been nine, bringing the total to 336 since 2009.

Regardless of whether a driver has consumed alcohol, you can expect to be pulled over if a police officer sees you driving erratically down the road. When this happens, and you have been drinking, you could face the possibility of DUI charges.

Determining Alcohol Intoxication

All states have a standard set of field sobriety tests to determine if a driver is under the influence. Before beginning the series of tests, an officer can recognize signs of possible intoxication, including red or watery eyes, slurred speech, or smelling alcohol.

Standardized field sobriety tests include:

Walk and turn: The driver will be asked to walk nine steps in a straight line, turn, and repeat the nine steps per the instruction of the officer. Arms cannot be used to help maintain balance.

One-leg stand: The driver will be asked to stand on one leg with arms at their sides for 30 seconds (sometimes the seconds may be counted aloud, but not always).

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: The officer will move their finger in front of the driver’s eyes to test eye movement.

A driver can also expect to be asked to perform a chemical test in the form of breath, blood, or urine sample. In Tennessee, both the field sobriety test and chemical test can be refused by the driver. While there are no legal penalties for refusing field sobriety testing, if the chemical test is refused, the driver runs the risk of automatic driver’s license suspension.

Why Should I Refuse a Field Sobriety Test?

According to Tennessee law, it is within a driver’s rights to refuse a field sobriety test. This is because there are other factors that can make it difficult for one to perform the tasks. Even if you are under the legal alcohol limit, various disabilities could make the tasks difficult or impossible to complete.

Other factors that can make field sobriety tests unreliable are:

  • Conditions of the road surface on which the driver is standing. Uneven roads or slickness of the surface can result in poor balance.
  • The driver’s weight, age, or footwear could cause poor balance or unusual movements.
  • Any distractions or particles entering the eyes during the test can cause the driver to move their eyes in an unusual way and thus could throw off the test.

Contact a Jacksboro Criminal Defense Attorney

Many drivers are unaware of their rights when fighting a DUI charge. The Law Office of William F. Evans can provide and execute a strategy to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Contact a Campbell County DUI defense lawyer at 423-449-7980 for a free consultation.


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