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Passing a sobriety test can still result in drunk driving charges

Tennessee has some of the strictest penalties for drunk driving in the nation. Drivers must be vigilant to protect their rights in the event that they are ever pulled over for suspected drunk driving. In some cases, passing a sobriety test can still result in a drunk driving charge. One driver, who is now facing a trial for DUI,  recently found himself facing such circumstances. 

The driver was originally stopped by a law enforcement officer for speeding. The officer claimed that he detected the smell of alcohol, and the driver admitted to drinking a few beers several hours before. He was asked to perform the standard number of field sobriety tests, which the officer determined he failed. 

A judge reviewed a video recording of the traffic stop. It was determined that not only was the driver completely cooperative throughout his interaction with the police officer, but that he also passed the field sobriety tests. Despite this judge's opinion, an appellate board overturned the decision, resulting in the charges against the driver being reinstated. According to state law, a driver does not have to exhibit every known sign of possible intoxication in order to establish probable cause. 

This complicated case illustrates the importance of having the assistance of a lawyer who is intimately familiar with Tennessee drunk driving laws and the rights of those accused. Some drunk driving cases can be quite complex, and it is wise for a person to protect his or her rights, beginning as soon as possible after an arrest. Drunk driving charges can bring serious penalties in the event of a conviction, and they should be confronted with an appropriate defense.

Source: thenewspaper.com, "Tennessee: Passing Sobriety Tests Can Still Result In DUI", March 25, 2016

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