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Taking the California walk-and-turn field sobriety test

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2023 | DUI Charges

You might have to take a California walk-and-turn sobriety test if you’re stopped for drunk driving. The test is sometimes given by officers when they suspect a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The test is approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and is given across the United States.

The procedure

The walk-and-turn test is a way to determine if a driver is intoxicated. The test involves walking in a straight line, turning around and walking back to the starting point. Failing to successfully complete the test could result in a DUI arrest.

The officer will provide instructions before the test begins. During that time, the driver must stand still with their arms at their side. The officer will then confirm if the driver understood the instructions.

Taking the test

To start the walk-and-turn test, the driver takes nine heel-to-toe steps forward. Depending on the location, the driver might have to imagine a line or walk on a real line.

After the first nine steps, the driver turns and takes another nine steps back to the start. The driver must keep their arms to their side, watch their feet and count the steps out loud.

The results

During the test, the officer watches for clues that the driver is drunk. There are eight clues, including wobbling when listening to the instructions, stopping in the middle of the nine steps, walking incorrectly or falling off the line.

The driver fails the test if they exhibit two or more of the eight clues or can’t complete the test. It’s assumed that the driver is legally drunk and can get arrested for a DUI.

Contesting the results

The walk-and-turn test isn’t perfect and has a 66% accuracy rate. If you receive a DUI after failing a walk-and-turn test, you can contest the results if you feel they are inaccurate.