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How Accurate Are Field Sobriety Tests?

If you are one of the many people in Tennessee who has been arrested for suspected drunk driving, it will be important for you to know that you do have the right to defend yourself against any charges. There can be several elements of a drunk driving arrest that may provide opportunities for you to do this. One of these may involve the field sobriety tests that are typically administered at the site of your traffic stop before you are officially placed under arrest and charged.

FieldSobrietyTests.org explains that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sanctioned three specific tests for use during the arrest process. Part of the sanctioning of these tests includes the outlining of very specific guidelines that officers must follow when providing you instructions on each test as well as when they are grading you on the tests. The reason for these guidelines is to ensure a consistent and objective result for all cases. Video footage of the test process may be used to identify potential errors made in administering these tests which may work in your favor.

Similarly, each of the three tests has a rate of inaccuracy associated with it. The eye test is the most accurate with a 77-percent accuracy rate. The walk-and-turn test and the one-leg stand test have accuracy rates of 66 and 65 percent, respectively. This leaves open the potential for problems with the tests. 

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give Tennessee residents an idea of how field sobriety tests work and the varying levels of accuracy associated with each of the three standardized tests.