Field Sobriety Tests

Field Sobriety Tests
Can they be challenged?

If you were recently arrested for DUI, you were likely asked to perform a series of roadside tests called Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). If these tests did not go well, then we would like to help.

At Davis & Hoss, PC, we have been challenging field sobriety tests for over 35 years, over which time we have defended thousands of DUI cases. All DUI evidence is open to question and evidence from field sobriety tests is no exception!

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs)

The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) is a battery of three tests that are administered by law enforcement to obtain probable cause to make a DUI arrest. These tests are supposed to help the police acquire evidence that someone is intoxicated.

The three SFSTs include:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)
  • Walk-and-Turn
  • One-Leg Stand

In the typical scenario, the police officer observes the defendant speeding or driving erratically and initiates a traffic stop. Based on the officer’s observations, the officer conducts a DUI investigation and has the defendant submit to the standardized field sobriety tests.
The defendant is then arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in violation of 55-10-401.

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Questioning Field Sobriety Test Evidence in Court

As Chattanooga DUI attorneys, we can tell you without a doubt that field sobriety testing evidence is open to question. An officer can administer tests but not in accordance with the standardized field training manual used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

When this occurs, and it does, the issue raised is not whether the tests are admissible, but rather, whether or not they are reliable since the officer admits that the tests were not administered according to NHTSA standards.

SFST Evidence is Not Beyond Challenge

Of all three tests, the HGN test is considered to be the most accurate and effective method of detecting alcohol impairment; however, the results of the HGN test are not conclusive and the validity of HGN tests and the other tests are not beyond challenge.

If we can show that the evidence from field sobriety tests is unsound, then we may be able to persuade the trial court to bar its admission. It is our ultimate goal to show the court that the test results are infirm.