Walk and Turn

Walk and Turn Test

Chicago DUI Defense Attorney

If you have been pulled over under the suspicion of driving under the influence, you might have been asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests. One test in particular, the walk and turn, is used to assess coordination. Also referred to as a "divided attention test," it divides the individual's attention between a mental and physical task—the physical task being coordination and balance, and the mental aspect being processing information and instruction. This test requires an individual to walk nine steps, heel-to-toe, on a straight line and then turn around with a certain amount of coordination and repeat the same steps back.

The external conditions in which this test is administered is crucial to the resulting outcome. It must be conducted on a clearly visible line or parallel to a curb so that it can be properly deduced whether or not the individual was able to walk in a straight line. If it is windy or the weather conditions are unfavorable, it might have a certain degree of interference in the test, as well. The field officer that is administering the test must give clear instructions on how the DUI suspect is expected to proceed, and then must demonstrate the motions of the test. If these regulations are not followed, the test could yield unfavorable and unfair results for the suspect.

Six Scoring Factors for the Walk and Turn Test

There are usually six ways in which an officer is trained to score the walk and turn test.

  1. One scoring factor is whether or not the individual stops at any point to regain balance or steady themselves.
  2. Another factor is how accurately the suspect completes the heel-to-toe instructions
  3. If they turn in the wrong direction
  4. If they leave a gap of a half inch or more between their heel and their toe when walking
  5. They cannot manage to walk in a straight line this way, it might give the officer reason to suspect that they are intoxicated
  6. If the DUI suspect takes the wrong amount of steps during the test, this might be scored unfavorably

Contesting a Field Sobriety Test

It is no surprise that field sobriety tests are not always considered valid or an accurate way to prove that an individual was driving under the influence. There are several factors that could contaminate the results of this test, and most of the time, the conclusion that an officer draws from this test is subjective. If you have recently been charged with a DUI, it is absolutely imperative that you obtain the right legal representation. A qualified lawyer knows how a field sobriety test should be conducted. If you failed a test that was improperly administered, they can have this evidence against you made inadmissible. Pick up the phone and call the Law Offices of Mitch Furman today for the aggressive DUI defense you need and deserve.

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