What is the Walk and Turn Test?

If you have been arrested for a DWI or DUI in Fort Worth, Arlington, Mansfield or in the surrounding cities of Tarrant County, you were likely asked to take the Walk and Turn Test. The Walk and Turn test is a test that was designed for the purpose of determining how well a person can use their mind and their body at the same time (known as a psychophysical test). Police officers refer to the Walk and Turn test as a “divided attention test” because the Walk and Turn test requires a person to listen to instructions, process the requests being given to him by the police officers, while also physically executing the commands through walking.

During the Walk and Turn Test, the police officer will ask you to imagine there is a straight line in front of you and to stand heel-to-toe while he reads you the instructions (a task that is difficult for the most adept non-intoxicated person to pull off). The police officer will then instruct you to take nine heel-to-toe steps, turn around the line (the officer will be looking for a specific 3-point turn), and walk back down that same invisible line using heel-to-toe steps.

As you perform the Walk and Turn test, the police officer will be looking at his pre-printed DWI form and looking to see if you scored any of the 8 possible “clues” listed on his scoring sheet:

  • Cannot keep balance while listening to instructions in heel-to-toe stance
  • Starts the test before being instructed to do so
  • Stops walking during the test
  • Misses heel-to-toe (on any step during the test)
  • Steps off the line (whether it is an actual or invisible line on the ground)
  • Uses arms to balance during the walking phase
  • Takes the wrong number of steps during the walking phase
  • Makes an improper turn (failing to precisely execute the 3-point turn)

According to NHTSA, if you scored at least 2 or more clues, there is a 68% chance that your blood alcohol content (BAC) was .10 or higher at the time of the test. Unfortunately, the police officer will not explain to you what he is looking for while he scores your test or that he will be marking you off if you do not touch precisely heel-to-toe or do not execute the 3-point turn precisely.

Call The Hampton Law Firm now to schedule a free consultation and determine if your field sobriety tests were administered according to the NHTSA guidelines.