What is the Heel to Toe Test?
In this test, the officer asked you to imagine a straight line and walk several paces in one direction, touching your heel to your toe, with your arms at your side, as you count aloud. In many cases, the officer is scoring your performance based on the wrong criteria. Worse yet, many officers do not even create the proper testing environment before asking you to perform the test. If the proper conditions were not present or the officer is improperly scoring you, your lawyer may choose to challenge the use of such a test in court against you.
Your DUI Attorney should be prepared to attack the credibility of the testing and the results it has provided.
Proper Conditions for the Heel to Toe Sobriety Test
The officer should give you this test on level ground that is solid, dry, and not prone to slipping. The officer should also take into account your weight, as people who are overweight may not be able to perform the test, based upon their weight alone. Also, many people with eye or ear problems may have trouble balancing when walking, as abnormalities with the eyes can create depth perception problems and ear problems can cause balance problems, as well.
The officer should also make a clear line in order for you to attempt to follow it; if you were asked to follow an imaginary line on the ground, there is no real way of determining whether the “line” you walked was straight or not. Yet, the officer is grading your performance on walking a line that does not exist. This sort of requirement is improper and against the National standards for the proper administration of the test.
Was there clear lighting in the area you were asked to perform the heel to toe test? If not, your grading may not reflect the fact that your visibility was skewed. It may also fail to account for the officer's limited sight when grading your test. Were there cars whizzing by that would cause you to lose balance? Were pedestrians nearby and unfairly distracting you when you attempted to walk the line? Did the strobe lights from the officer's vehicle obstruct your vision and, therefore, your ability to properly perform the test?
How We Use DUI Experience to Defend You
These questions, and others, must be asked in order to properly score the heel to toe test. Following proper procedure under proper conditions is the only way to assure the accuracy of the test. It is also critical to take into account the overall health and physical ability of the person submitting to the test. All in all, it is likely the officer failed to take some or all of these factors into account before scoring your performance. Be sure to exploit all of these shortcomings when defending your DUI.