Drunk driving allegations can wreak havoc on your life. Mere criminal charges can be enough to damage your reputation, but a DUI conviction can lead to fines, license suspension or revocation, jail, and, in some instances, prison. With so much at stake, you need to make sure you are putting forth the aggressive criminal defense you deserve, which may mean attacking the results of any field sobriety tests.
Prosecutors often rely on these tests in their quest to convict accused drunk drivers. Yet, these tests and their corresponding results can be full of flaws.
As an example, let’s look at the walk-and-turn test. In this field sobriety test, an officer typically requires a driver to stand with his or her arms outstretched while instructions are given. Once complete, the driver is then expected to walk a number of steps in heel-to-toe fashion along a straight line all while keeping his or her arms outstretched. A law enforcement officer will be looking for a number of indicators of intoxication, including an inability to comprehend and follow instructions as well as a failure to maintain balance.
So where can the flaws arise? Just about anywhere along the way. An officer may give inadequate instruction that lead to invalid results, or there may be some sort of outside condition, such as an injury or illness, that renders an individual unable to maintain his or her balance during the administration of the test. In some instances, police officers simply inaccurately observe the test or lie about its results.
This means that those who have been accused of drunk driving is that they need to pay attention to the details of their case. What may have initially been considered minor errors may end up being game-changing and throw the prosecution’s case off balance. A strong criminal defense attorney may be able to utilize these errors to obtain a plea bargain that furthers a defendant’s best interests, or maybe even a dismissal of charges or an acquittal.