Walckner Law Office

​Attorney James Walckner​​

​Walk-and-Turn Field Sobriety Test

This test is known to most lay people as “walking the line.”  The Walk and Turn test is administered, and graded, in two stages: the Instruction Stage and Walking Stage.

Instruction Stage: During the Instruction Stage, the driver is required to stand with one foot in front of the other, touching heel to toe, with arms down to the side, while the officer explains the test.  This is a graded portion of the test, where the officer is noting clues, such as an inability to keep balance or raising arms to maintain balance.

Walking Stage: During the Walking Stage, the driver takes nine steps forward in a straight line, touching heel to toe and counting the number of every step out loud. The driver is required to keeps her arms at her sides and after completing nine steps, she turns around and repeats.

A driver fails this test when two (2) or more clues, out of eight (8) possible clues, are present:

  1. Inability to balance during the Instruction Stage
  2. Starting the test before being told to begin
  3. Stops while walking
  4. Driver does not touch heel-to-toe (1/4 inch gap or greater)
  5. Driver steps “off line,” meaning off to the side
  6. Raising arms and using them to balance
  7. Losing balance on the turn, or fails to turn as instructed
  8. Takes the wrong number of steps

The Walk and Turn test may be invalidated through a number of factors.  The test is not appropriate to administer to people over age 65 and others with back, leg, or inner ear problems that may have physiological difficulties with balance.  People wearing heels over two (2) inches in height should remove her shoes.  Environmental conditions, such as uneven or slippery surfaces, and extreme climates, may cause a driver difficulty in successfully performing this test.