DUI Walk-and-Turn Tests in Alabama
In the state of Alabama, field sobriety tests may be conducted in order to determine if you are driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Under Alabama’s DUI statute found in code section 32-5A-191, you may be found guilty of a DUI not just for having a BAC above .08 but also for driving while impaired or intoxicated by any substances to an extent that you are unable to drive safely. Field sobriety tests including the DUI walk and turn test are used to help determine if your faculties are impaired to a dangerous extent.
Although the walk and turn test is used as evidence in a DUI case, it is inherently a subjective test that can produce inaccurate results for many reasons. If you are being charged with a DUI and a DUI walk and turn test is being used as evidence against you, Birmingham DUI lawyers may be able to help you to challenge the accuracy of the test and introduce doubt. If your guilt in a DUI cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the charges against you can be dropped or you can be found not guilty. If you live in Jefferson, Madison, or Shelby Counties or elsewhere in Alabama and want to learn more about how an attorney can help you to fight a DUI, contact a Birmingham DUI attorney today for a free consultation.
Alabama DUI Laws and the DUI Walk and Turn Test
When police officers suspect you are intoxicated, you may be asked to consent to a DUI walk and turn test, which is one of several field sobriety tests. The walk and turn test is exactly as it sounds: you will be asked to walk and turn in front of police officers. However, it is a little more complicated than it sounds because you will typically be required to walk heel-to-toe in a street line, then turn and walk back heel-toe.
What are the two stages of the walk and turn test?
Many individuals who are not intoxicated may struggle with this type of test. A variety of medical conditions that impair balance or coordination may make this test impossible. Some people are simply uncoordinated and have difficulty walking in this manner, particularly if they are experiencing test anxiety as they stand on the side of the road under the scrutiny of police officers. All of this is exacerbated by the fact that there is no objective measure of how well you must perform on the walk-and-turn test in order to “pass” and avoid having the test used against you as evidence. It is up to the officer’s discretion whether you are able to walk in a straight enough line and pass the test.
Can you refuse field sobriety test in Alabama?
Walk and turn tests may be used against you in a DUI case not only because the officer testifies about what he saw, but also because the video is frequently taken from the dashboard cameras of officers on the scene. This video could be used as evidence in court, and if you appear to fail the test, the jury deciding your guilt could get the wrong impression and not fully comprehend all of the facts surrounding why you failed.
As a result, refusing to take the DUI walk and turn test or other field sobriety tests is your best option. Although you give implied consent to chemical testing if you drive in Alabama, you are not required to agree to sobriety tests and can instead take a blood or urine test. If you refuse to take a walk-and-turn test, law enforcement will have less evidence to use against you in a DUI case.
If you have already taken a walk-and-turn test and are facing DUI charges, you can raise questions about whether the test or its results were accurate in order to weaken the evidence against you and, hopefully, avoid a DUI conviction.
What happens if you get a DUI in Alabama?
Alabama DWI attorneys have successfully challenged the DUI walk and turn test and other DUI tests for many clients, resulting in charges being dropped or a not-guilty verdict. The sooner we accept a case, the sooner we can start working with you to gather evidence for a DUI defense and challenge the DUI tests. That is why it is critical to contact a lawyer as soon as you are aware that you will face DUI charges in Alabama. You can contact us toll-free, fill out a confidential online case evaluation form, or come to a downtown Birmingham office.