The Walk and Turn is one of the standardized field sobriety tests police use to determine if someone is possibly drunk driving.These are the instructions that police give when administering the Walk and Turn:

Initial Instructions and Positioning 
  1. Place your left foot on the line. (Demonstrated)
  2. Place your right foot on the line ahead of your left foot, with the heel of your right foot touching the toe of your left foot (Demonstrated)
  3. Place your arms down at your sides. (Demonstrated though I don't know why. If you are too drunk to understand this instruction then you probably should have considered refusing to perform field sobriety tests.
  4. Stay in this position until the officer has completed the instructions. Do NOT start until told to do so.
  5. At this point the officer will ask if you understand the instructions so far - Remember that you have to stand in the position I just described. If you are drunk this momentary pause can prove very challenging. 

Instructions and Demonstration of Test 
  1. When the officer tells you to start, you will take nine hell-to-toe steps, turn, and take nine heel-to-toe steps back.
  2. When you turn, keep your front foot on the line and turn by taking a series of small steps with the other foot. 
  3. While you are walking you have to keep your arms at your sides, watch your feet at all times, and count out loud. 
  4. Once you start walking, don't stop until you have completed the entire test.
  5. The officer will then ask if you understand the instructions.
  6. When you begin, count your first step from the heel-to-toe position as "One."

Next, a Columbus DUI Lawyer will tell you what the police are trained to detect. Hopefully it will help you stay out of trouble. 

There are eight clues that police use to determine if someone has failed the Walk and Turn test. The bad news is that you only have to exhibit 2 out of 8 clues to fail this test!
  1. Can't keep balance while officer is giving instructions. Remember that at the beginning of the test the officer has you standing with your feet touching heel to toe. If your feet break apart then you are off to a bad start. 
  2. You start the test before the officer finishes giving you the instructions. This is another test to see if you can remember the instructions before you begin. The drunk driver eager to pass the tests often makes this mistake. Since almost everyone has seen these tests performed before they think they know exactly what to do. They don't, but you will. 
  3. Stops while walking. This means you come to a complete stop while completing the test. I have represented clients in hundreds of OVI related cases and routinely achieve favorable results. This clue really stands out. The test is called the Walk and Turn. Please don't stop walking until you have completed the test.
  4. Fails to touch heel to toe. Pretty self explanatory. 
  5. Steps off the line. Most people focus on this clue. It's a bad sign if you can't get this one right. 
  6. Uses arms to balance. The officer will record this clue if you raise your arms more than 6 inches from your sides. It can be a little challenging to walk heel to toe, but if you have to raise your arms that high to balance. . .  you may need an experienced DUI lawyer.
  7. Makes an improper turn. Read the instructions above. The turn is hard to perform correctly if you have had too much to drink. I have seen a lot of ballerina-like movements on cruiser videos. 
  8. Takes the incorrect number of steps. The instructions call for 9 steps. I once had a client that did 21. There is no punch line. The person did 21 steps going one way. The officers thought the individual was trying a "slow escape" strategy.

Thanks for reading.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration DUI Detection Manual 2006.


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