Drunk driving allegations can have a tremendous impact on your life. Mere accusations can damage your reputation, thereby affecting your employment and your standing in the community, but a criminal conviction can result in hefty fines, license suspension or revocation, and even incarceration. With so much on the line, individuals who are accused of drunk driving need to be prepared to aggressively attack the prosecution’s case in hopes of obtaining the best possible outcome given the facts at hand.
In many drunk driving cases, the prosecution relies heavily on the testimony of law enforcement officers. These officers typically attest to the administration of certain field sobriety tests, the results of which may portray an individual to be intoxicated at a time when they were driving.
Take, for example, the walk and turn test. This field sobriety test requires an individual to first stand heel-to-toe with arms outstretched. During this time, the officer provides instructions. After those instructions are given, the driver must take a certain number of heel-to-toe steps in a straight line, pivot, and return on that same line in heel-to-toe fashion, all while counting the steps out loud and keeps arms outstretched. Any lack of balance, understanding of instruction, incorrect counting of steps, or straightness of steps may be deemed an indication of intoxication.
Field sobriety tests are often inaccurate, though. Directions may be unclear, a medical condition may account for balance issues, and sometimes officers misinterpret the results of these tests. This is why you need to be prepared to challenge them in settlement talks and at trial. An attorney who knows this area of the law well may be able to provide the competent representation needed to draw the reliability of field sobriety test evidence into question. This, in turn, may result in reduced charges, dismissed charges, or acquittal.