Field Sobriety Tests


Tennessee DUI defense attorneys

If you have failed a field sobriety test and are facing a DUI charge, you are probably afraid of what will happen next. A Tennessee DUI charge can carry serious penalties and have lasting consequences for your future. The skilled Murfreesboro DUI defense attorneys at Kidwell, South, Beasley & Haley understand what is at stake and mount an aggressive defense to fight driving under the influence charges. For more than 40 years, our trusted DUI attorneys have provided staunch legal representation to clients facing DUI charges.


What is a field sobriety test?

A field sobriety test is a test given to drivers suspected to be driving under the influence. The test is a physical coordination test. The standard test, designed by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, involves three separate tests, which are:

  • The one-leg stand test: The officer will direct you to stand with your feet together and arms at your side. Then you will be instructed to show that you can stand with one foot about six inches off the ground for thirty seconds.
  • The horizontal gaze nystagmus test: the officer will instruct You to move your eye so that it is looking sideways, usually by following their finger with your eyes without turning your head. When your eye gazes sideways, an involuntary jerking of the eye happens. This jerking becomes more pronounced when you have been drinking.
  • The walk and turn test: The officer will instruct you to walk in a straight line. You will be required to take nine steps, heel to toe, along that straight line. Then you will turn one foot and return the following direction walking heel to toe along the straight line once again.

If you waiver during the one-leg stand test, are unable to follow the officers finger without exaggerated eye jerking during the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, or fail to walk in a straight line, you may be arrested under suspension of a DUI.


If I’m pulled over under suspicion of a DUI, am I required to take a field sobriety test?

No. If you are pulled over, you are not required to take a field sobriety test and there is no legal penalty for your refusal. The investigating officer, however, does not have to tell you that you are not required to take the field sobriety test.


I failed my field sobriety test. Will I be convicted of a DUI?

Not necessarily. While field sobriety test results carry some weight, they can often be undermined. Field sobriety tests were designed to give the officer probable cause to arrest you for driving under the influence and are not necessarily reliable in proving you were driving under the influence. Field sobriety test results have been discredited due to the following:

  • The investigating officer failed to use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s standard field sobriety test;
  • You had to perform the test under improper conditions;
  • You were not an eligible candidate to perform the test;
  • The officer failed to give proper instructions for the test;
  • The officer did not use standardized scoring criteria to evaluate your test performance;
  • The officer was not properly trained on how to administer the test
  • The officer did not accurately describe your test performance.


Contact our tenacious Murfreesboro DUI attorneys today

A DUI conviction can have indefinite and far reaching effects on your life. The dedicated Murfreesboro DUI attorneys at Kidwell, South, Beasley & Haley understand what’s at stake and will aggressively defend you against all charges. Contact us today online, or call 615-893-1331 to schedule a free consultation.