A field sobriety test can lead to an arrest, and the results can be used in court. This means the results can weigh heavily on your fate and you may lose your license, have to pay fines and suffer the other negative impacts of having a criminal record. Because of what is at stake, Tennessee citizens who partake in field sobriety tests at the request of a police officer should understand what outside factors may impact the results and how they may form part of a defense strategy when challenging a drunk driving charge.
Not everyone is physically fit enough to take a field sobriety test and have it accurately measure a level of intoxication. Painful conditions or physical problems like back and knee pain or injuries can make some of the field sobriety test activities impossible to accomplish. Weight can also be a determining factor when it comes to "successfully" completing a field sobriety test. Being more than 50 pounds overweight can make the requests difficult or even unattainable.
The factors that may impact results can go beyond your physical limitations or challenges. The way in which the test is administered can also be challenged as it can lead to unfair or inaccurate results. The officer giving the test may not be properly trained in doing so and, therefore, not legally able to administer the test properly. The reason for being asked to perform the test may also be challenged, which could lead to the results being thrown out of court.
Field sobriety tests are by no means the be all and end all of a drunk driving case. Like any potential evidence offered by prosecutors, they can be challenged legally and factually in court. Our website has more information on how the tests work and about the flaws and unreliability of field sobriety tests in Tennessee.