Walking in a straight line, heel to toe, turning and doing so again can be a challenging feat for many Texas motorists who have been pulled over after being suspected of impaired driving. Nevertheless, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) lists it as one of the approved field sobriety tests law enforcement officers can use. The test has a history of producing false results that have nothing to do with inebriation.
What the walk-and-turn test entails
Police officers who administer this test to detect DUI must follow strict rules. The test involves two parts: instruction and execution. During the instruction part, the test subject must stand with feet heel-to-toe, with arms outstretched while the officer explains the procedure, and then ask if the individual understood the instructions. The second part involves taking nine steps forward on a real or imaginary line, turning and then taking nine steps back to the starting point. While the subject performs the test, the officer will look for several signs indicating intoxication.
The problem with this test is that some people with medical or balance problems may not be able to pass it and will be arrested for DUI. Difficulty balancing, stopping while walking, failing to walk heel to toe, stepping off the line, using arms for balance and other mistakes could end up in failure, even when an individual has not consumed any alcohol.
Challenging a field sobriety test
Drunk driving in Texas carries some stiff penalties, so it is essential that anyone taken into custody for DUI challenge the results of a field sobriety test. You need an aggressive defense, especially if your test results are skewed because of physical difficulties, hearing problems, or other factors that may cause an officer to arrest you unfairly. Improper test administration is another reason to disprove walk-and-turn test results.
An aggressive defense is your best strategy against DUI charges. Gathering appropriate evidence and witnesses that can confirm your innocence is essential. Even first-time offenders could incur jail time, hefty fines and loss of your driver’s license, so it’s in your best interests to do everything in your power to disprove any field sobriety tests.