Understanding the walk-and-turn test

Most Pennsylvania residents have heard about field sobriety tests. However, how well do you really know what these are, how they are administered and what they are actually for? FieldSobrietyTests.org explains that while some people may think that these tests are used to prove that you are intoxicated, that is not true. The point of field sobriety tests is simply to collect enough evidence to support the fact that you might be intoxicated. Based upon this, a law enforcement officer may then be able to legally arrest you. 

One of the tests used is called the walk-and-turn test. As the name implies, a person is asked to walk, turn around and then walk back. In compliance with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines, the test should require nine paces in each direction. Arms are to be kept securely by the sides and not used to help provide balance at any time. As steps are taken, they must be counted out loud by the person taking the test. A heel-to-toe formation must be maintained at all times. 

This test is said to be 66-percent accurate. An officer will be looking for several things that may allow them to indicate you have failed the test. These include pausing while walking, not walking in a perfectly straight line, not keeping heels and toes in contact as instructed and using arms to help balance.  

If you would like to learn more about the walk-and-turn test or other tests used during a drunk driving investigation, please feel free to visit the field sobriety test page of our Pennsylvania criminal defense website.

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