The walk-and-turn field sobriety test

If you have ever heard about someone taking or failing a field sobriety test in Pennsylvania, you may well wonder exactly what these tests are like. As explained by, there are actually three standardized tests that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has approved for use by law enforcement officers.

In addition to the tests themselves, the NHTSA has outlined very specific methods of administering the tests that must be followed exactly. Any deviation from these guidelines may open the possibility for a test result to be challenged. One of these tests is called the walk-and-turn test. It has an accuracy rate of 66 percent.

In this test, you would be asked to stand with your arms at your side. From there you would take nine exact steps in one straight line forward, turn around and then take another nine exact steps back in a straight line. When putting one foot in front, that foot's heel should touch the toe of the foot behind it. If you fail to maintain a straight line, do not keep a heel-to-toe pattern or use your arms to maintain your balance, you might be at risk of failing this test. In addition to taking the steps as instructed, you must count out loud with each step. This allows officers to evaluate your ability to multitask as well as to balance.

If you would like to learn more about the walk-and-turn test used by officers 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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