Imagine a straight line in front of you. Put your left foot on that line. Place your right foot in front of your left foot with your left toe touching your right heel. Put your hands down by your sides and hold that position without moving. Hello, I’m attorney Scott Smith and today we’re talking about the walk and turn field sobriety test, the second of the three standardized field sobriety tests approved by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration designed for the detection of impaired drivers.
Are you still holding that starting position I discussed in the beginning of this video? It’s tough isn’t it? Now imagine you’re on the side of the interstate with cars passing at seventy miles per hour, or in a parking lot next to a busy intersection with people looking on. You’ve got an officer that’s already told you that the test is to determine whether or not you’re safe to continue to drive. Is it getting more difficult? You haven’t even begun to actually walk the test yet.
The walk and turn field sobriety test provides the officer seventy-six different opportunities to notice eight clues of impairment. If the officer notices only two clues, it gives the officer enough evidence to believe you are an impaired driver.
The eight clues are broken down into two phases. The first phase is the instructional phase. During the instructional phase the officer asks you to get into the position described at the start of the video. During this instructional phase the officer is looking to see if you break that stance of if you start too soon by mimicking the officer’s movements. Those are the first two of eight clues.
During each series of nine steps you take, the officer is looking for four clues on each step. They are looking to see whether you miss touching heel to toe, whether you step off your line, whether you stop walking at any point during the step taking, or whether or not you use your arms for balance.
There are two final in the walking phase. One is for not turning exactly as instructed by the officer, and the final clue is for taking the incorrect number of steps in either series of nine steps, going out or coming back.
Does this test seem difficult to you to pass? The test isn’t designed to be passed. It is designed to show the officer clues of impairment to help them justify arresting you. We recommend to all our clients to politely refuse to participate in field sobriety testing, especially the dexterity testing. Do not help the officer make their case.
Our team of experienced Georgia DUI attorneys are trained just like the police officers in how to properly perform field sobriety evaluations. We are trained to look at each test and break down whether or not the instructions are correct, whether the officer demonstrated it correctly, and whether or not you actually exhibited the clues the officer said he saw at the time of you conducting these tests.
If you’ve been stopped for DUI and you are worried about your performance on the walk and turn field sobriety test, or whether or not you’ve just got questions for us, call our office today for a free consultation. We’re available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Our telephone number is 404-581-0999.