Walk and Turn SFST

Walk and Turn Standard Field Sobriety Test

Tempe DUI Lawyer for defense of DUI charges and Field Sobriety Tests

Walk and Turn | Administration | Signs of DUI impairment | Defenses | Tempe DUI Lawyer

Walk and Turn (WAT)

The “Walk and Turn” test is one of three Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) developed and sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The “Walk and Turn” (WAT) is a Standard FST. The Walk-and-Turn test is a "divided attention" test. In theory, the test is easily performed by drivers not impaired due to alcohol or drugs performed by most unimpaired people. It requires the suspect to listen to the officer’s instructions while performing “simple physical movements”. NHTSA reports that drivers impaired by alcohol and/or drugs have difficulty preforming multiple tasks, that require their attention to be divided between motor skills and mental skills at the same time.

Administration of Walk and Turn (WAT) Roadside SFST

In the Walk-and-Turn test, the subject is directed to do the following:

  1. Take nine steps, heel-to-toe, while walking a straight line.
  2. After taking the steps, the suspect is asked to turn on one foot and return in the same manner in the opposite direction.

During the entire exercise, the officer will be observing and looking for signs that are consistent with DUI or DWI impairment.

What police are looking for in the Walk and Turn SFST

The specific “cues” or indicators police officer is looking for in DUI or DWI impairment are:

  • Lack of Balance during the exercise;
  • Inability to listen to instructions while attempting to walk as directed;
  • Suspect begins to walk before the police officer finishes giving them the instructions;
  • The suspect has to stop in order to regain their balance while walking;
  • The suspect does not touch heel-to-toe;
  • The suspect touches toe-to-heel (opposite of instruction);
  • The suspect steps obviously far off the line and must use arms to gain their balance;
  • The suspect makes improper or misdirected turn;
  • The suspect loses their balance on the turn;
  • The suspect takes an incorrect number of steps.

According to NHTSA research studies, 79 percent of individuals who exhibit two or more indicators for the following indicators will be driving impaired due to alcohol or drugs; and have a BAC of 0.08 or greater . Further, if the suspect is unable to complete the Walk and Turn Test NHTSA classifies the probability of the suspect has 0.10% BAC in 68% of DUI suspects who take the test.

DUI Defenses for Walk and Turn Tests

Examples of defenses for the Walk and Turn Test include but are not limited to:

  1. Suspect was 50 pounds average weight for their height;
  2. Suspect was 65 years of age or older;
  3. Suspect had a medical condition impairing their motor skills; balance or coordination;
  4. Suspect’s fitness level was naturally lower than average in absence;
  5. Suspect did not understand the instructions;
  6. Suspect and Police had a barrier in language and translation;
  7. Landscape or Terrain was uneven; muddy; rocky; icy, snowing, freshly oiled;
  8. Heavy Traffic was distracting; or too loud for suspect to understand instructions;
  9. Police officer intimidated the suspect causing them to be nervous;
  10. Suspect naturally possessed a high anxiety levels due to mental condition or simply due to the DUI stop, investigation and ordeal.

DUI Lawyer Tempe Arizona

If you have active DUI charges in Tempe AZ, call the Law Office of James Novak for a free consultation to discuss your charges and defense options. James Novak, DUI & Criminal Defense Attorney, exclusively defends DUI & Criminal charges. He is also a former prosecutor with a vast amount of trial experience. There may be defenses that can be used that you are not aware of in addition to matters surrounding Field Sobriety Testing. If retained, he will protect your rights and defend your DUI or criminal charges. Call today for a Free Consultation (480) 413-1499.

Law Office of James Novak
4500 S. Lakeshore Drive
Tempe AZ 85282
(480) 413-1499


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