Walk-and-turn test in Fresno
Leading Central Valley DUI Defense
If a person is stopped and suspected of DUI in Fresno or the surrounding
areas, a law enforcement officer will try to administer both field sobriety
tests (FSTs) and chemical tests that are designed to determine whether
you are under the influence and whether your blood alcohol concentration
(BAC) is a .08 or more. If the BAC level is at 0.08 percent or greater
or the officer feels that you are unable to operate a motor vehicle safely,
you will be arrested on charges of DUI. Prior to being arrested, you may
be asked to do the walk-and-turn test.
Walk-and-turn procedures in Fresno
The walk-and-turn test is considered to be a divided attention test that
can be performed by most persons who are not impaired. The test requires
that a suspect listen and follow instructions during the performance of
simple physical movements. Impaired persons may have trouble with tasks
that require their attention to be divided between simple mental and physical
In the walk-and-turn test, a person will be directed to take nine steps,
heel-to-toe, along a straight line. After taking the steps, a person must
turn on one foot and return in the same manner in the opposite direction.
The examiner will look for eight indicators of impairment:
- if the suspect cannot keep balance while listening to the instructions,
- begins before the instructions are finished,
- stops while walking to regain balance,
- does not touch heel-to-toe,
- steps off the line,
- uses arms to balance,
- makes an improper turn, or
- takes an incorrect number of steps.
Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
has shown that 79 percent of individuals who exhibit two or more indicators
during performance of the test will have a BAC level of 0.08 percent or greater.
A number of variables can cause a driver to make any number of mistakes
during the evaluation whether or not he has consumed any alcohol. Oftentimes,
these traffic stops are made during late night or early morning hours
when it is dark. Also, most people are anxious or nervous when they are
stopped by law enforcement officers, regardless whether or not they have
been consuming alcohol. Therefore, a person may be distracted by anxiety
while attempting to perform the test. Also, the officer does not know
how a person would perform the test if they were sober and and performing
the test under perfect conditions, therefore any mistake will be attributed
Variables can lead to inaccurate BAC resultsIt should also be pointed out
that simple considerations such as bad weather or medical conditions can
cause an individual to perform poorly on the examination. The end result
could be that the officer will conclude that the driver has been drinking
and should be arrested for DUI. As an example, a person suffering from
an inner ear infection may have trouble balancing, thus have trouble walking
a straight line at night under low-light conditions. Also, the ground
upon which the test is conducted on could be uneven or unpaved, thus the
completion of an error-free test will be difficult.
Should you reach out to a DUI defense attorney?
If you are facing charges related to the offense DUI in the San Joaquin
Valley, including Kings County, Madera County and Tulare County, do not
think that your only choice is to plead guilty. Take a moment to contact
the attorneys at Wapner Jones P.C. and schedule a consultation in order
to discuss the facts of your case and be advised of your options.