When a police officer stops a driver for suspicion of DUI, there are three standardized field sobriety tests the officer may administer that are recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – the “horizontal gaze nystagmus,” the “one-leg stand,” and the “walk and turn.”
The walk and turn test requires a driver to walk heel-to-toe along a line for nine steps and then turn and return. The test evaluates both the driver’s ability to follow directions and ability to physically complete the test.
A driver fails the walk and turn test if he or she is unable to maintain balance while completing the test or fails to follow the police officer’s instructions. Additionally, a driver may be deemed to have failed the test if he or she stops walking, steps off the line, is unable to maintain the required heel-to-toe stepping pattern, raises his or her arms, takes the incorrect number of steps, or turns improperly.
If you fail the walk and turn test, it is possible your Orange County DUI attorney will be able to prevent the results from being entered into evidence at your trial. In order for the results of a walk and turn test to be valid, the test must be conducted using a straight line on a reasonably hard, dry, and level surface. If your test was not conducted in these conditions, your Orange County DUI attorney will argue that the results of the test should not reach the jury.
Further, research indicates the walk and turn test can produce inaccurate results for those with back or middle ear problems, over the age of 65, or wearing high-heeled shoes during the test. If any of these characteristics apply to you, your Orange County DUI attorney will argue your test results are too unreliable to be admitted into evidence.
If you need legal assistance defending a drunk driving charge, please contact Orange County DUI attorney Chad Maddox, Esq.