The walk and turn test is considered a divided attention test, and has been validated through NHTSA’s research programs. This test consists of two stages; 1.) The instructional stage 2.) Walking stage.
In the instructional stage, a subject must stand with their feet in a heel to toe position, keep their hands at their sides, and listen to instructions. This not only requires undivided attention, but also a very good sense of balance.
In the walking stage, a subject is instructed to take 9 heel to toe steps in a straight line (sometimes the line is imaginary), then turn in a manner demonstrated by the officer, and take 9 heel to toe steps back, all while counting the steps out loud and watching their feet. The officer administering the test is looking for 8 various cues in the subject:
- Subject can’t balance during instructions
- Subject starts too soon
- Subject stops while walking
- Subject doesn’t touch heel to toe
- Subject steps off line
- Subject uses arms to balance
- Subject loses balance on turn or turn incorrectly
- Subject takes the wrong number of steps
The officer is looking for two or more cues in this test. If a subject exhibits two or more cues, this indicates that the subject may be under the influence of alcohol. The attorneys at The Law Office of Ben Mironer know how difficult this test is to perform, even by a sober person.
It is critical to fully understand and conceptualize this test because a good DUI attorney can explain how well a subject may demonstrate mental and physical ability simply by completing this test. Furthermore, it is important to note that a subject can only exhibit a cue once, meaning if you step off the line two times, that is only one cue, not two.
Finally, this test is also not even close to 100% accurate, even when properly administered. The statistical data is something that we use in our favor because these tests are inconclusive even when properly administered. These tests may show the presence of alcohol in the system, but they are not clear in regard to showing alcohol impairment.
Field sobriety tests are used by officers to obtain additional evidence of impairment against a subject. An officer must have sufficient probable cause to make a lawful arrest, and they use field sobriety test evidence to support their finding of probable cause to arrest. If your attorney can demonstrate that there was insufficient probable cause for the officer to make the arrest, then the case can get dismissed after a successful suppression motion.
In a DUI case, an attorney at The Law Office of Ben Mironer could have a major impact on the result of the case because we have the knowledge and skills to negotiate and litigate DUI cases to get the best possible outcome.