Law enforcement officers are trained to conduct field sobriety tests when executing DUI roadside stops. The first thing you should know about field sobriety tests is that they are completely, 100% optional—you are NOT required by law to submit to them.
Roadside sobriety tests essentially are a means for the officer to obtain enough probable cause to arrest you for DUI; however, these tests generally are not accurate gauges of intoxication, as even sober drivers may have trouble performing the tests, especially elderly citizens or persons with physical ailments or disabilities.
One popular type of roadside sobriety test is the walk-and-turn test. Although this test is simple in theory, the officer will set forth so many specific guidelines that you may become confused. Factor in the nerves and stress you likely will feel due to being scrutinized by a law enforcement officer, and it’s easy to see why these tests have high failure rates.
During the walk-and-turn test, the officer will instruct you to assume a heel-to-toe stance with your arms at your sides. The officer will then instruct you to take nine steps, heel to toe, in a straight line. When you reach the end of those nine steps, you will be asked to turn around in a very specific manner—not pivoting, but taking a series of small steps with one foot while not stepping off of the line. You are then to take nine heel-to-toe steps back the other way. The officer will also tell you to keep your arms at your sides the entire time and to count your steps out loud.
Again, these highly-specific and overly-complicated instructions are meant to confuse you and throw your concentration off. If you fail to follow any of the precise instructions, the officer may have the probable cause needed to arrest you for DUI.
If you have been arrested for DUI and were subject to a roadside sobriety test, call attorney Marcos Garza at the Garza Law Firm today. Mr. Garza is well versed in Tennessee DUI law, including extensive training in field sobriety techniques and tactics. In fact, Mr. Garza has even trained other attorneys nationally on the proper administration of field sobriety tests.
Call (888) 680-7554 today to schedule a free consultation with DUI attorney Marcos Garza.
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