The walk-and-turn test is one of the three “standardized” field sobriety tests researched and validated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The test should take place under certain conditions, and you may be able to challenge your test results if those conditions were not present. For example, you should have taken the test on a flat, hard, reasonably dry, non-slippery surface. In addition, if you were wearing high heels, you should have been able to take off your shoes before taking the test. If you believe that the conditions of your test were unfair, a King County DUI attorney may be able to help you fight your DUI case.
Impairment Clues While Standing
The walk-and-turn test requires the officer to look for several clues while the driver prepares to perform the test. The first clue involves the driver’s balance. A lack of balance, swaying, or inability to stand up straight could all count against the driver. The second clue relates to whether the driver can follow instructions. The officer will watch to see whether the driver starts to walk only after the officer has instructed him to do so.
Impairment Clues From Walking
The officer overseeing the walk-and-turn test looks for six clues while the driver is walking. If the driver stops walking for several seconds, the officer must note the pause. Other signs of intoxication include a gap greater than a ½ inch between the driver’s heel and toe or a failure to walk the total number of steps specified by the officer. The test also considers whether the driver raises his arms more than six inches; takes his foot completely off the line in the road; and/or turns improperly.
If the officer identifies two or more overall clues while the driver performs the walk-and-turn test, then the test protocol classifies the driver as intoxicated.
Challenging the Results of Your Field Sobriety Test
A successful challenge of a walk-and-turn test will depend on the facts of your case. An experienced King County DUI attorney may be able to point out problems with the road surface where your test was administered or identify a physical health condition which could have affected your test results, or challenge the manner in which the test was administered. If you would like me to review your case, please call me or submit the Free Case Evaluation form on this page.