Walk and Turn Test
The Walk and Turn Test is one of the three FSTs approved in the State of Georgia (which also include the HGN – Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – test and the One Legged Stand). If you are in an accident or stopped by the police, suspected of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), and asked to submit to this Field Sobriety Test, you DO NOT have to participate.
If you do, however, keep in mind that the results are subjective.
You may think that if you “pass” the test, you will not be arrested, but that is rarely the case. For one, because the results of the test are not so easily defined as “pass/fail,” and for two, this is just one of the tests that any officer will ask you to submit to. He or she may not tell you how well you did on the test; he will just make his notations and ask you to submit to more.
The officer is looking for a combination of clues (probable cause) that you are Driving Under the Influence (DUI), and will administer as many tests as you agree to take to stack up this supposed evidence before making his or her determination.
The Walk and Turn test is an evaluation not only of your physical dexterity in performing the test, but also in your ability to pay attention to and follow the officer’s directions.
First, the officer will explain the directions and offer a short example of the procedure. You will be asked to take nine heel-to-toe steps forward, pivot in a very particular manner, and take nine heel-to-toe steps backwards to the starting position. The officer will ask you to count each step out loud. He or she is looking for indications that you can follow directions, and that you may be physically impaired (for instance, not counting your steps out loud, taking more or less than nine steps in each direction, using your arms to balance, swaying, not pivoting correctly…).
Missing just two of these criteria can result in arrest in Georgia. However, that doesn’t mean that you are guilty of DUI. As an experienced Canton DUI attorney, Michael Vereen III can help you fight the charges.
You may just be nervous. You may have a medical condition that makes it impossible to perform this test to the officer’s satisfaction. The belief that you are under the influence is merely one inference that the officer may draw. The results are subjective, and the officer is just looking to stack up probable cause for arrest.
Even ballerinas can fail this test.