Miami Legal Tips Blog

Florida Walk and Turn Field Sobriety Tests Have Many Flaws

Cop FigureIf you’re suspected of a DUI in Florida, officers may ask you to complete a number of roadside exercises, including the famous “Walk and Turn.” If you’ve been put in this positon then it is imperative that you contact a Florida DUI attorney who can break down the flaws in this exercise and can work to nullify the testimony of the police who arrested you.

The way it’s supposed to be administered is not typically the way it’s administered

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has very clear guidelines on how this exercise should be completed, yet they often aren’t followed. The NHTSA says that it should be completed in an area that’s well lit, on a flat surface, away from traffic, and with a white line that’s thick.

The person performing the exercise should start at one end and place one foot in front of each other for nine steps. At that point, they should turn around and walk another nine steps. The guidelines also specify that if the person doesn’t have flat shoes on then their shoes should be removed to ensure they don’t hinder their ability to balance.

The police are actually testing for four things during the walk and turn

Most people believe that the police are simply using this exercise to test balance but they’re also testing a person’s ability to follow directions, how much space people put between their steps, and their general demeanor. The best option is to react to all instructions calmly and cooperatively.

Flaws in this exercise

If you’re charged with a DUI and end up going to a jury trial, Gilbert and Smallman will have a lot of questions for the officer during our cross examination. First, we’ll want to know about the traffic. These walk and turn exercises are often completed on busy roads with lots of cars, which can make it more difficult to balance. Next, we’ll ask them if it was done on a thick white line or if the officer simply asked you to walk in a straight line.

Depending on your case, we’ll have many more questions for them. The reality is that if the officer didn’t closely follow the criteria that the NHTSA set out, then the jury is likely to find the officer biased and to realize that they likely made assumptions about you. For more information on your options, call us today for a free consultation.


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