Utah DUI Walk-and-Turn Test

Utah DUI Walk-and-Turn Test

Before an officer can place a person suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) under arrest, he or she must first find evidence that a crime has been committed. In many cases, the officer will ask the driver to perform a number of field sobriety tests to determine if there is probable cause to make a drunk-driving arrest. When conducted properly, the field sobriety tests can tend to show if a person is over Utah's legal blood alcohol content limit and later be used to establish his or her guilt in court.

DUI Walk-and-Turn Test

The walk-and-turn test is known as a "divided attention" test; that is, the person performing the test must divide his or her attention between following instructions and performing a physical activity at the same time. When people are intoxicated, their ability to divide their attention between cognitive and physical tasks can become impaired--making it difficult to successfully complete the test.

The walk-and-turn test consists of an instruction stage and performance stage. During the instruction stage, the officer will ask you to stand in a certain position while he or she explains and demonstrates how the test must be performed.

During the performance stage, you must take nine heel-to-toe steps forward on a real or imaginary line, turn in a specific manner, then take nine more steps back--all while keeping your arms by your side and counting each step aloud.

While you are performing the walk-and-turn, the officer will watch for seven signs of impairment, which include: difficulty balancing while listening to the officer's directions, beginning the test before instructed to do so, stopping during the test to regain your balance, forgetting to take heel-to-toe steps, using your arms to maintain balance, losing your balance while turning, taking the wrong number of steps. If the officer sees two or more of these signs, you could be arrested for DUI.

Walk-and-Turn Defenses

Performing the walk-and-turn test can be difficult for many people; whether or not they are intoxicated. If the test is administered in distracting conditions, such as in a highly-trafficked area, this could have an effect on performance. In addition, some people--such as those with a physical condition, more than 50 pounds overweight, or over 65 years of age--should not be asked to take this test in the first place.

Our attorneys know that you can't take the walk-and-turn test at face value; that's why we will look into your field sobriety tests to determine if they were administered correctly. If we find that the test was flawed in any way, we will challenge this evidence in an effort to help your defense.