If a law enforcement officer suspects that you’re driving drunk, then they’re going to do everything in their power to generate evidence that can be used against you in court. A breathalyzer test can certainly be powerful in the prosecution’s case, but before the police can get to the point of conducting a breathalyzer test or conduct an arrest, they have to have probable cause that you’re driving under the influence.
Oftentimes, law enforcement tries to generate that probable cause through field sobriety tests. But these tests aren’t as reliable as the police and the prosecution may lead you to believe.
Faults with the walk and turn test
One commonly utilized field sobriety test is the walk and turn test. Here, the driver is instructed to take a specified number of steps in a heel-to-toe fashion, pivot, and then return the same number of steps. These steps must be taken in a straight line and with arms outstretched to the side. If the driver fails to follow instructions, strays from a straight line, or loses his or her balance, then an officer may consider those errors as signs of intoxication.
However, even a failed walk and turn test shouldn’t immediately be attributable to intoxication. After all, a driver may be asked to perform this test on uneven ground, or he or she may be wearing shoes that make performing the test difficult. The driver may even have a medical condition that makes it challenging to successfully perform the test according to the officer’s instructions. In other words, there are a lot of legal justifications for a failed walk and turn test.
Fight to avoid a drunk driving conviction
You shouldn’t let improper police practices lead to criminal conviction and the harsh penalties that oftentimes accompany conviction. That’s why you need to thoroughly vet your criminal defense options to see what you can do to fully protect your future.