Just Saying “No” To a Field Sobriety Test in Tennessee

We have all seen the YouTube videos of police officers giving clearly intoxicated drivers field sobriety tests. Whether they are trying to break dance for the cop or can barely walk the line, these dash cam gems provide endless hours of entertainment. Have you ever stopped and thought about what you would do if faced with the same situation? In Tennessee, knowing your rights could help you avoid severe legal issues.

Imagine yourself in a similar situation

Maybe it was a birthday party, a wedding or a special date night, whatever the case you enjoyed some drinks to commemorate the occasion. After the festivities and food, it was time to go home and getting behind the wheel was no problem, you felt entirely in control. Then out of the corner of your eye, you see the flashing lights and realize you are getting pulled over. What do you do?

The right to refuse

Tennessee law states that it is not required to submit to a field sobriety test, or FST. Understanding the law becomes crucial at this point because what the officer is not required to tell you is that you have the right to refuse their request to take a field sobriety test. However, your license could possibly be suspended if you have refused a FST in the past and if an accident resulted due to impaired driving.

Often field sobriety tests are used to prove that a driver is too impaired to operate a vehicle and drive it safely. Should you decide to go through with the FST, even if you pass, in Tennessee you can still be charged with a DUI.


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