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DUI » DUI Testing » Field Sobriety Tests » Walk and Turn (WAT)

Walk and Turn (WAT)

The Walk and Turn (WAT) is one of three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests that may be administered when a driver is pulled over for suspected drunk driving. Field sobriety tests are conducted in order to determine whether a driver's mental and / or physical abilities are impaired by alcohol. The Walk and Turn is a divided attention test, which means that the suspect must listen to and follow instructions while performing certain tasks. Their attention must be divided to properly perform the test. The Walk and Turn is administered by having the suspect take nine steps, heel-to-toe in one direction along a straight line. The suspect must then turn on one foot and return in the same manner, heel-to-toe and in a straight line.

Specific indicators the officer will look for in grading the suspect's performance on the WAT test:

  • Difficulty maintaining balance while the officer is giving instructions;
  • Beginning the test before the officer finishes giving instructions;
  • Stopping while walking to regain balance;
  • Failing to touch heel to toe;
  • Failing to walk in a straight line;
  • Using the arms to maintain balance;
  • Making an improper turn; and
  • Taking more or less than nine steps in each direction

Challenging the Results of a Walk & Turn Test

In a study conducted by Stuster and Burns in 1998, it was determined that 79% of subjects who exhibited two or more of these indicators had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or greater, above the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle. While this is a significant portion of subjects, it is not flawless and there are defenses that can be utilized to challenge the evidence gathered from these results. There are a number of issues that may negatively impact a suspect's ability to properly perform a Walk and Turn test.

High-heeled shoes, physical injury, weight, age and a natural lack of balance or coordination may make it appear as though a driver's abilities are impaired by alcohol when they are not. With the proper handling of the case, a DUI attorney in Tampa, Florida may be able to effectively challenge Walk and Turn test results to help a defendant challenge his or her charges. Contact our firm today to find out more about how we can help you challenge these.

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