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Drunk driving and the walk-and-turn test

Those who have been accused of drunk driving may be in for quite a fight if they hope to protect their finances, their ability to drive and their freedom. This is because the penalties associated with drunk driving can be quite harsh. However, before penalties can be imposed, prosecutors must obtain a conviction. This requires them showing competent evidence that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In drunk driving cases, this often involves putting forth evidence related to blood-alcohol content and field sobriety test results.

One common field sobriety test depended upon by law enforcement and prosecutors is the walk-and-turn test. This standardized test requires an individual to receive directions from a law enforcement officer who tells him or her to take nine steps, heel-to-toe, in a straight line. Once complete, the test subject is required to pivot and take nine return steps in a straight line, again making each step heel-to-toe in nature.

From the time an officer begins giving directions for this test, he or she looks for signs of intoxication. Amongst these signs are trouble balancing, difficulty understanding and following directions and failing to walk in a straight line.

Although this test may prove powerful for the police and the prosecution, the fact remains that this test is only accurate about two-thirds of the time. That means that far too often innocent individuals are erroneously accused of drinking and driving. This is why it is critical that those who have been hit with a DUI charge carefully consider how best to present a competent legal defense in hopes of protecting their best interests.

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