Georgia Walk and Turn Test
One of the standardized field sobriety tests sanctioned by the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration is the Walk and Turn Test. Like all other field sobriety tests, police officers must follow their protocol when administering the Walk and Turn Test. If the officer fails to follow police guidelines or makes a mistake, your field sobriety test results can be negatively impacted.
Before the police officer can request you to perform this physical test, he or she must make sure that the test is conducted in a qualified environment. This means that you cannot perform the test if the road is slippery, if you’re on a curve, if you’re on a hill or if it’s in an unsafe environment. The officer must also make sure the area is lit properly and that you are able to follow the line in the road or the “imaginary line”.
Since this is a physical test of walking and turning, the officer cannot have you perform the Walk and Turn if you are 65 years or older, if you have any physical disability (knee problems, etc.) or if you are more than 50 pounds overweight. If you were wearing heels more than 2 inches high, the officer must allow you to perform the test barefoot. All of these factors can cause even a sober person to fail this field sobriety test.
If it is determined that you are qualified to take the test, the officer must first demonstrate the test to you. The test requires you to walk nine heel-to-toe steps, pivot and walk back in the same manner. You cannot use your arms for balance, stop during the test or miss a single step.
While this test challenges a person’s physical ability, it is also a divided attention test. This means that the officer will be observing your ability to pay attention to instructions. Alcohol not only affects physical motor skills, it also affects mental capabilities, which is why the Walk and Turn is designed to test both.
As you can see, there are many things that can go wrong with a Walk and Turn Test. Only a qualified DUI defense attorney trained in such testing is fit to represent you and challenge your Walk and Turn test results. Contact the HTW&W Law Office today.