Walk and Turn (WAT) Test: DUI Sobriety Tests


In addition to the requirements for officer administration, the Walk and Turn Test requires certain conditions to be administered properly. Level ground is required, along with a hard, dry, non-slippery surface.

Even with optimal conditions, NHTSA indicates that the test may not be valid for the elderly, people with leg injuries or people with inner ear problems. Officers may still administer the test, but it can provide a defense to your DUI arrest.

The officer administering the test must:

  • Instruct and demonstrate to the suspect to place his or her left foot on the line and right foot heel-to-toe in front of it
  • Make sure the suspect understands this position must be held while the instructions are relayed
  • Stop the instructions until the suspect is back in position if he or she breaks from the pose
  • Tell the suspect not to begin until instructed
  • Demonstrate two or three heel-to-toe steps
  • Ask the suspect to take nine heel-to-toe steps down the line, turn around and take nine steps back
  • Have the suspect count his or her first step from the heel-to-toe position as the first step
  • If the suspect staggers, steps off the line, stops or stumbles, have him or her continue from the point of interruption

While performing the Walk and Turn Test, the suspect must keep both arms down, watch his or her feet, count the steps out loud and not to stop walking until the test is complete. If the suspect indicates that he or she doesn't understand the instructions, the officer can repeat misunderstood parts but not the entire instructions.

Arrested for DUI? Find Legal Help Today

Failing these types of sobriety tests can often lead to a suspect being arrested for DUI. An arrest is not the same as a conviction, though, and DUI charges can be fought in court.

If you've been arrested on suspicion for DUI and are facing criminal charges, you can connect with a DUI attorney today and learn how to fight your charges and protect your rights. Find an attorney in your area today by filling out the quick case review form below.

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