DUI Walk and Turn Test
The walk and turn exercise is one portion of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests police officers administer during a DUI investigation. However, “failing” this test does not mean you will be convicted of drunk driving.
How to Perform the Walk and Turn Test
As type of divided attention test, the walk and turn exercise is designed to evaluate both your mental and physical abilities. To perform the test, you will be instructed to place your feet in a heel to toe position and walk forward—with your arms remaining at your side the entire time—as you count out loud. After taking nine steps, you must then pivot and return to your original position while continuing to count out loud.
What Constitutes Failing?
Officers are looking for eight different clues when you take the test. If you deviate from the officer’s instructions in any way—such as beginning the test before the officer tells you to do so, or taking more or less than nine steps, for example—you will almost certainly fail. Using your arms for balance, stopping during the test, and moving your feet out of the heel-to-toe position, will also reduce your chances of passing.
If you make two or more errors—possibly on items you were not even instructed on—you can fail the test. This is a test you should not take, as it is possible to fail the test before you even begin walking.
A Bias and Subjective Test
If the walk and turn test seems a bit subjective, that’s because it is. Since there is no standard method to determine whether a driver passes or fails the test, it is ultimately up to the officer who administers it to decide your fate. Unfortunately, the mere fact that you are taking the test in the first place reveals the officer’s bias. And, given the fact that the person scoring your performance already suspects you of DUI, it is certainly not surprising to learn that most drivers who perform the walk and turn test end up failing.
The good news is that, given the subjective nature of the test, there are a variety of ways to challenge your results.