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Should I Refuse Field Sobriety Tests in Tennessee? Memphis DUI Lawyer Explains

Oct. 22, 2019

Many people who face DUI or DWI charges could have avoided arrest or improved their defense options if they understood their rights. Far too often, drivers answer every question that officers ask, admit guilt, or make statements that hurt their chances of structuring an effective defense.

During a DUI traffic stop, you have the right to remain silent – and you should exercise that right. Providing unnecessary information or admitting guilt will not help your situation. You should also refuse to take field sobriety tests.

As the Department of Motor Vehicles explains, Tennessee is an implied consent state, which means that all drivers automatically consent to a chemical test (blood, breath or urine). Refusing to take a breathalyzer, for example, will result in an automatic driver’s license suspension. However, there are no legal consequences of refusing a field sobriety test.

If you are facing DUI charges in Tennessee, contact the Muldavin Law Firm, PLC. As your Memphis criminal attorney, Sam Muldavin will gather evidence, structure your defense, and aggressively fight for a positive outcome for your case. Call 901-864-1896 to schedule a consultation.

Why Should You Refuse Field Sobriety Tests?

Field sobriety tests are notoriously inaccurate, and even sober drivers can fail them. Common reasons for failing a field sobriety test include:

  • Poor weather;

  • Officer gave bad instructions;

  • Back problems;

  • Uncomfortable footwear;

  • Knee problems;

  • And old age.

If you consent to take a field sobriety test and you fail, the prosecuting authority can use that fact as evidence to prove your intoxication at the time of the arrest. If you refuse the FST, the prosecuting authority may have less evidence to secure a conviction. This can be particularly useful if your DUI lawyer challenges the results of the breathalyzer.

Challenging Breathalyzer Results

Your criminal attorney may decide to challenge the results of the breathalyzer if:

The Stop Was Illegal: If the officer did not have reasonable suspicion that you had committed a crime or were in the process of committing a crime, then the stop may have been illegal. As such, any evidence gathered after the stop, such as the breathalyzer results, may not be admissible in court.

Breathalyzer Was Not Calibrated: If the officer did not calibrate the breathalyzer correctly, then the results may have been inaccurate.

Improper Administration: If the officer did not administer the breath test properly, then the results may not be admissible in court.

There are other reasons why our DUI lawyer may challenge the breathalyzer results. This may happen if you are taking certain medications, or if acetone was present.

If you are facing DUI charges in Tennessee, contact the Muldavin Law Firm, PLC. Sam Muldavin is a criminal attorney in Memphis who has the knowledge and resources to represent your interests.

Depending on the facts surrounding your case, it may be possible to structure a defense that convinces the court to reduce the charges or penalties or to dismiss the case altogether. Call 901-864-1896 today to schedule a consultation.