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Tennessee Supreme Court to settle evidence dispute in DUI case

When someone is pulled over and treated like a drunk driving suspect, it can be easy for him to just go along with whatever a police officer asks of him. He is made to feel guilty right from the start and can feel like he has to provide any sort of evidence that the police might want.

Tennessee DUI suspects do have rights, and there are limits to what law enforcement can and should ask of them. The state Supreme Court is going to evaluate a case that brings this matter to light. The court has to answer whether police in a particular drunk driving case had the right to collect a blood test from a suspect.

A Tennessee suspect was arrested for suspicion of drunk driving and criminally charged when his blood test indicated that he had a BAC level above the 0.08 limit. Though that test supports officials' move to charge him with DUI, the question is whether the test was rightfully collected.

During the traffic stop and subsequent drunk driving investigation, police put the suspect through several field sobriety tests. He passed all of them. Therefore, the defense argues, there is no reason or law that supports police going through with having the defendant submit to a blood test.

Because that evidence was collected wrongfully, the DUI charge should have been dismissed. Various courts agreed with that theory, but the matter has been pushed all the way to Tennessee's high court. Its decision regarding the criminal process matter would impact how similar drunk driving investigations are handled.

Source: Associated Press, "TN Supreme Court agrees to hear field sobriety case," Sheila Burke, March 22, 2013

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