Walking The Line: The Walk and Turn Test

What is the Walk-and-Turn test?

 Along with the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus and One-Leg Stand test, the Walk-and-Turn is a Field Sobriety Test police use to determine intoxication.  If you are stopped in Maryland for a DUI, the officer will most certainly conduct this test.  The officer will direct you to walk a straight line, heel-to-toe, in nine steps counting each step out loud. You will then be instructed to turn on one foot and walks back up the line in the same way.

 Police are looking for 8 cues to intoxication:

1. Cannot keep balance while listening to instructions

2. Starts before instructions are completed

3. Stops during test to regain balance

4. Fail to touch heel-to-toe

5. Lose balance or step off line

6. Use arms to balance (that’s right. Your arms are at your sides the whole time.)

7. Turn performed incorrectly

8. Incorrect number of steps

The test actually begins before you start walking. Police will describe the test to you while having you stand in the ready position – one foot in the front of the other. Your ability to split focus between listening and standing awkwardly is the first thing police look for to determine the presence of alcohol. More than testing balance, the Walk-and-Turn is a divided attention test, designed to see how well you can perform a difficult task while taking direction.

Click here to see the test performed.

Need help with a Maryland DUI case?  Call me at 301-563-9575 or 1-877-566-2408.  I’ve handled thousands of these cases. I’m an experienced Maryland DUI lawyer who handles cases in throughout the State, including Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Howard County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Anne Arundel County.