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DUI Defense Strategies: Breathalyzer, Field Sobriety, & Blood Tests

Going out for a drink with friends is all fun and games until someone gets behind the wheel of a vehicle. Drunk driving is a serious charge with life-altering repercussions. But not every DUI case is warranted, and with steep penalties and even jail time possible, you need a seasoned criminal defense attorney to defend your DUI charge.

At Andrew Beasley, we’re Nashville’s trusted criminal defense attorneys, specializing in DUI cases. As an assistant state attorney and longtime defense attorney, Andrew Beasley and his team know how to put the strongest case forward in your defense. Here’s how we defend our clients when they’re accused of driving under the influence. 

Drunk Driving Penalties in Nashville, TN

Drunk driving penalties in Nashville, TN, state that even a first-time offender may face jail time (especially if fatalities occur), along with license revocation and a $1,500 fine. In contrast, repeat offenders can face increasingly severe punishments based on the outcome of the incident.

It’s precisely because DUI charges come with stiff penalties that the team at Andrew Beasley pulls out all the stops in defense of our clients.

DUI Sobriety Testing

There are several reasons why you might have been pulled over and hit with a DUI charge. A variety of factors can contribute to this outcome, including:

  • Driving without your lights on
  • Tailgating
  • Quick acceleration or deceleration
  • Stopping without cause
  • Drifting in and out of traffic lanes
  • Almost striking an object, curb, or vehicle

In order for a police officer to determine whether or not you’re driving under the influence, there are a few tests they’ll ask you to submit to.


Breathalyzers are common tools in enforcing the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which in Tennessee stands at 0.08%. While drivers hold the right to decline a breathalyzer without a warrant, the attorneys at Andrew Beasley advise cooperation if you’re not intoxicated to avoid potential consequences.

If you refuse a breathalyzer test, that doesn’t get you out of a possible DUI charge. Refusal may lead to a 12-month license suspension for first-time DUIs or a 36-month suspension for repeat offenders—should your BAC be higher than 0.08% upon testing at the station.

That said, breathalyzer results aren’t as iron-clad as they may seem. There are legal strategies that can aid in your defense. 

Breathalyzer Results in Court

It’s worth noting that roadside portable breathalyzer tests are not admissible as court evidence. The accuracy of breathalyzer scores is often contested, and experienced criminal defense attorneys in Nashville frequently challenge their reliability. Beyond concerns of improper administration, rising alcohol levels further complicate matters, potentially inflating the figures beyond the levels present during actual driving. 

In cases where a breathalyzer reading was used to bring charges against drivers, arguments can be made to undermine or question such evidence, giving you the edge you need to fight unjust DUI charges.

Field Sobriety

Coordination and focus can be challenging in the best of circumstances, but when it’s dark, late, and loud on the side of the road, a field sobriety test (FST) can feel nearly impossible to pass. Yet, these tests are a serious matter when it comes to determining if a driver is impaired.

Most field sobriety tests include: 

  • Horizontal-gaze-nystagmus (HGN) test: This is where officers observe involuntary eye movements by asking you to follow a flashlight without turning your head.
  • Walk-and-turn test: Individuals must walk a straight line heel-to-toe and pivot for a return trip.
  • One-leg-stand test: The suspected drunk driver will be required to balance on one foot for an allotted period of time.

Naturally, under certain circumstances, and for motorists with existing impairments not related to intoxication, field sobriety tests can create unfair and unjust results. But you shouldn’t have to pay for a poorly structured sobriety examination. There are ways to question this evidence, too.

Understanding Your Field Sobriety Rights

By Nashville law, FSTs are voluntary, so you have every right to refuse to partake in them. However, this does not get you out of a possible DUI. Police officers have the right to ask you then to take a breathalyzer test if they feel you are too impaired to drive.

If you’ve chosen to participate in an FST, a DUI criminal defense attorney such as Andrew Beasley could contend that the FST results lack scientific precision and are vulnerable to manipulation due to their subjective scoring process. Ambiguous instructions given during these tests can further compound uncertainty, creating a formidable defense strategy.

While FSTs may find their way into the courtroom as admissible evidence, their validity hinges on adherence to the standardized protocols outlined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Our skilled criminal defense attorneys will analyze the reliability and overall test scores to ensure the protection of our client’s rights and advocate for a fair and just legal outcome.

Blood Tests

In Tennessee, a DUI case can lead to the administration of a blood test. As a driver, you have implicitly agreed to undergo such tests—a legal principle referred to as implied consent. While it’s within your rights to decline a blood test request, this decision comes with potential consequences, including the risk of a driving suspension or criminal charges.

A DUI blood test may only be conducted by a registered medical professional, which means it won’t be administered at the scene. In contrast to breathalyzers, blood tests, and urine tests are far more accurate and have the ability to detect a broader range of substances, including both illicit drugs and prescription medications.

Blood Tests & Court Proceedings

The results of a DUI blood test hold weight in court proceedings conducted in Tennessee, standing as admissible evidence. However, these results can be subject to challenge by a criminal defense attorney. Factors such as the methodologies employed during testing, the reliability of the technologies used, and the officer’s testimony may all become focal points in contention.

When it comes to contesting a DUI blood test, a dedicated Nashville criminal defense attorney is an invaluable asset. At Andrew Beasley, we can provide guidance and navigate the intricacies of the legal system, ensuring that your rights are upheld. Furthermore, the option to request a sample at the time of the blood test can be a very useful asset throughout your case.

Andrew Beasley & Your DUI Charges

When seeking legal representation for a DUI conviction, it’s important to keep in mind the level of experience possessed by your criminal defense attorneys. How your DUI defense is handled can significantly impact the outcome of your case, potentially affecting your foreseeable future in deeply consequential ways. 

At Andrew Beasley, our DUI attorneys have dedicated years of legal service to refining their abilities in the courtroom, arming themselves with in-depth knowledge to navigate the legal framework to their advantage.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Nashville, TN, and require legal counsel, look no further than Andrew Beasley. Contact us today at (615) 437-7002 to start reviewing your case.