The Tennessee Supreme Court will soon hear a case that may determine whether police officers have the right to arrest a person for driving under the influence after the individual passes a field sobriety test. Drunk driving may cause a car accident with serious injuries or death, so police have generally been given a great deal of leeway in probable cause to arrest potentially dangerous drunk drivers, but challenges to those practices have led to questions about the rights of the police when they make drunk driving arrests.

The case stems from a 2009 incident in which a driver was pulled over for driving on the wrong side of the road. Police suspected that he was drunk, but the man was able to pass six field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are informal assessments of a driver’s ability to walk and talk; they may include asking the suspect to repeat certain sentences or to perform various physical maneuvers.

The individual’s lawyer objected to his subsequent DUI arrest, claiming that the police did not have probable cause to do a blood alcohol test after the man successfully passed the field sobriety examination. The individual in question was found to have a blood alcohol content of almost twice the legal limit when a blood test was performed. The Tennessee Attorney General has asked the state’s Supreme Court to rule on the issue.

Those who have suffered injuries from DUI accidents may want to consult personal injury attorneys. With the assistance of attorneys, injured parties may be able to collect damages for their injuries and pay for medical bills and other expenses.

Source: NWTN Today, “Tennessee Supreme Court agrees to hear DUI test case,” Sheila Burke, March 26, 2013