The Tennessee Supreme Court recently handed down a decision that, in a logical world, would decrease the impact of an officer’s field sobriety test performed during DWI investigation.
The question was recently asked of the Tennessee Supreme Court whether there was sufficient probable cause to arrest a citizen of DUI if they passed the field sobriety tests. In State of Tennessee v. Bell , the Court held other factors such as driving, smell of alcohol, and admissions of drinking are sufficient to create probable cause to arrest a citizen for DUI. The Court further opined that “even if Mr. Bell correctly performed the field sobriety tests, we decline to conclude that his performance sufficiently undermines the aforementioned circumstances so as to defeat a finding of probable cause for DUI.”
So, then, what is the point of the field sobriety test? Why are there such harsh punishments for not submitting to a test that the Supreme Court of your state has all but invalidated as having value?