Walk and Turn Test


The police officer will give the test in two phases:

First the officer directs the driver to stand heel-to-toe, arms down as he or she is listening to the test instructions. The driver is then ordered to take nine heel-to-toe steps in a line, either one that is real, such as a pavement crease, or an imaginary one.  At the end of the 9 steps, they are instructed to turn, and take nine heel-to-toe steps back toward the officer. During the test the police officer is looking for any signs that the driver is struggling with the test.

Here are some of the things that an officer will be looking to catch you out on during the test:

  • inability to balance during instructions
  • starting the test too soon
  • stopping while walking
  • inability to touch heel to toe
  • stepping out of the line
  • using arms to balance
  • loss of balance during the turn or turning the wrong way
  • taking the wrong number of steps.

If an officer notes just two or more of these occurrences, he will now have probable cause to arrest you. Hence, they are designed to fail. Even a stone-cold sober person would have trouble performing this test, if for example they happened to have bad balance, be significantly overweight, be particularly nervous or anxious over the fact they are being observed by a police officer, be extremely fatigued, were wearing shoes that made it difficult to touch heel to toe, the road was uneven, and so on.

A good DUI/DWI attorney will be able to challenge the results of a walk-and-turn test in court based on some or all of these factors.