It’s another breezy summer evening in California, and you are out at a bar with some friends celebrating the start of the weekend. After a few cocktails, everyone decides to head home for the night. You hop in your car and begin the drive home thinking about how much fun tomorrow night will be. Sure, you’ve had a couple drinks, but that shouldn’t be a problem. That is, until you see blue and red lights flashing behind you.
Many people find themselves in this situation every day in California. When it happens, a flood of thoughts rush through their heads. How much did I drink? Was I swerving? What am I going to say to the officer at my window? Minutes start to seem like seconds, and suddenly you’re outside of your car with an officer asking you to complete a field sobriety test (FST).
There is something you should keep in mind if you ever find yourself trying to walk a straight line heel-to-toe, stand on one foot or complete a nystagmus test – the three standardized and most common FSTs.1 The shoes on your feet could affect your ability to complete these tests, and could ultimately be your defense against a DUI charge.
When High Heels Become a Liability
A DUI in California is defined as the illegal operation of a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) level at or above 0.08% for those 21 and older, 0.04% for those operating a commercial vehicle, and 0.01% for those under the legal drinking age.2 Police officers use FSTs to establish probable cause for an arrest, and failing an FST, even without having the required BAC, can still lead to a DUI if the officer believes that you are impaired from the use of drugs.
This makes passing an FST incredibly important. But there are factors outside of intoxicants or impairment that can make it extremely difficult to complete an FST, one of which is wearing high heels. Shoes with a high heel can make it much harder to walk in a straight line without using your arms for balance or stopping to steady yourself. These are some of the most common “cues” that officers look for when determining your level of intoxication.
Can Fashion Be Your Defense Against a DUI Charge?
Courts are starting to catch on to the idea that high heels can impact your ability to pass an FST. Recently, lawyers for a North Carolina woman successfully argued that her inability to pass an FST was the result of her three-and-a-half-inch stiletto heals. Similarly, manuals for the National Highway Safety Administration as well as some states are beginning to include provisions allowing for individuals with high heels to be given a chance to remove them before attempting to complete an FST.
Penalties for DUI in California
Penalties for a DUI conviction under VC 23152 are severe. If you are convicted of DUI in California, you face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Additionally, the DMV could suspend your license for up to six months.
Facing these potential penalties makes it vital that you speak to an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible.
Speak to an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney Today
If you have been arrested for DUI, you should immediately consult with one of our DUI defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have been successfully defending our clients facing DUI charges for over 30 years. We’ve helped thousands of clients in their time of legal need and we can help you now.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich DUI attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.