Who made the field sobriety tests the primary means of detecting driver impairment to alcohol in Tennessee DUI cases ? The answer is your government.Beginning in the 1970’s research studies were sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA). NHSTA contracted with the Southern California Research Institute (SCRI) to determine which roadside field sobriety test were the most accurate.The field sobriety tests were designed to be standardized so the tests would be the same in Nashville,Tennessee or Franklin , Tennessee.
There are limitations on the field sobriety tests.Last Sunday most Americans were watching the Super Bowl . Professional athletes who are in tip top shape and train everyday.Where did they perform these football feats. On a perfectly level playing field.The DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing 2006 Manual requires the Walk-and-Turn test and the One-Leg Stand test be performed on a reasonably smooth , level surface. If the "tests" aren’t done according to design they provide no information to the court or the jury.Therefore , the field tests should be inadmissible.
Today , I reviewed a case where the field sobriety tests were done outside my office on Second Avenue in Nashville.The slope is tremendous.Based on my personal knowledge , the tests were done almost on a hillside.That test is flawed from the start.
So what does a experienced DUI lawyer do ? Grab a level.Go to the scene.Fight the test for it’s flawed basis. The image in the post depicts the perfect location for the field tests. It’s inside.