Some Colorado residents may recall driving after having a few drinks and not waiting long enough to get behind the wheel. If law enforcement suspects you’re too impaired to drive, you may soon see blue and red lights flashing in your rearview mirror. After a police officer pulls you over, they may ask you to perform one or a few field sobriety tests.
Before you begin the official walk-and-turn test, you’ll need to place your arms at your side and stand with your feet together. Then, you’ll walk heel-to-toe in a straight line, turn and complete your nine steps in the opposite direction.
Police officers use this test to determine if someone appears intoxicated, looking for the following signs:
- Balancing difficulties
- Miscounting steps
- Not walking in a heel-to-toe manner
- Placing arms outward to balance
Any behaviors in the previous list could lead a police officer to conclude that you failed your test. If you fail and the officer smells alcohol on your breath, you’ll likely receive a Colorado DUI charge.
Potential accuracy problems
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the walk-and-turn test only has an accuracy rate of 66%. Putting that statistic into perspective, someone who scored 66% on a test would make a D. Regardless of how authoritative a police officer seems, walk-and-turn tests are not failproof. Someone with a condition such as vertigo can struggle to perform this test even when sober. Others with severe anxiety may also have trouble completing this test. In addition, the roadside could be uneven, or it could have been slippery from rain or ice. It’s also possible that the officer was relatively inexperienced administrating the test.
Being asked to complete the walk-and-turn test can feel understandably nerve-wracking. However, you have the right to challenge the results of this test.