What Exactly is the Walk and Turn Test?

DUI lawyer in Springfield, IllinoisWalking heel to toe in a straight line, turning around and then doing it all over could be difficult for many people, regardless of the circumstances. However, this walk and turn feat is something that you will have to accomplish perfectly in case you’re stopped for a suspected DUI in Illinois. The NHTSA or National highway Traffic Safety Administration has an approved list of field sobriety tests or FSTs, which includes the walk and turn test, that law enforcers across all states utilize for determining if there’s really probably cause that could warrant a DUI arrest.

The Procedure for Walk and Turn Testing

This is a standardized test, meaning that the police officer administering it should explicitly follow specific rules for ensuring an accurate outcome. The test is composed of two parts, the instruction, and the actual performance. First, you will have to balance while standing heel to toe as you listen to the police officer’s instructions. Basically, you’ll have to really listen to the instructions and commit them to memory, all while balancing. What follows is the actual test, wherein you will have to do a heel to toe walk on an imaginary or real line on the road, turn around, and then do the exact walk again until you land in your original position.

During your performance, the police officer will be watching out for clues that could indicate that you’re under the influence of a controlled substance and that you’re over the allowable BAC limit, explains a top DUI lawyer in Springfield, Illinois. These clues include:

  • Having a hard time balancing while taking instructions
  • Doing the test prior to completing the instruction step
  • Stopping during the actual test
  • Failure to balance without the use of arms
  • Failure to balance and walk heel to toe
  • Walking off of the specified line
  • Incorrect turning
  • Taking less or more steps than necessary

The police officer should be three to four feet away while you’re performing the test and must stay as still as possible because the excessive or distractive movements, as well as standing too near, might distract you and affect your ability to properly perform and pass the walk and turn test.

Contesting a Walk and Turn Test

A study by the NHTSA concluded that this has an accurate rate of only 66%, and that’s considering that it was administered exactly according to the NHTSA’s guidelines. In the event that you have been charged with DUI following a failed performance of the walk and turn test, you could question the accuracy of the outcome with help from an experienced DUI attorney.