DUI Walk-and-Turn Test

Question:What are some possible defenses for failing the walk-and-turn test in Alabama?

Answer: The walk-and-turn test is a standardized field sobriety test promulgated by NHTSA. The standardization and validation required for the test to be accurate must be instructed and evaluated in a very specific manner. There are eight clues on the walk-and-turn test: the person can’t balance during the instruction stage; the person starts too soon; the person stops walking; they don’t touch heel-to-toe; they step off of the line; they use their arms for balance; an incorrect turn is performed; or the wrong number of steps are taken. Two or more clues are required for the likelihood of a .08 or greater blood alcohol result; however, even when the test is administered and critiqued in an accurate way, the standardization says it’s only a 68% accurate test. Possible defenses to this test are: the way this test is instructed; the way it’s interpreted; the location and condition of where the test is administered; or the physical condition of the client. Many times we find that the officer does not provide a designated line for the person to walk on, leaving fertile ground for us to defend the case and the admissibility of this test.

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