Basics of the Walk and Turn Standard Field Sobriety Test
The Walk and Turn Field Sobriety Test is valid only if the Instructions and given correctly and the scoring is in compliance with standards set by NHSTA
Walk and Turn-BasicsF.WALK AND TURN
In the 1977 testing, the Walk and Turn was the second most reliable test and now after the 2005 testing it is 3rd in reliability. This test is also the easiest for the officer to err because of the many instructions that are given, and the number of potential clues.
In this test as well as the One Leg Stand the officer must ask the subject if he has any medical conditions, and if the answer is yes the officer is supposed to take that into consideration if he continues with the test.
Aside 7: It is not explained what type of consideration a non-physician who has not reviewed the subject*s medical records is going to give, but those are the instructions. The earlier testing indicated that people over 65, 50 or more pounds overweight or with back neck or leg problems may not be able to perform the tests, however the test sample was only 1.5 per cent and there has been no validated study since then. This is certainly a line of inquiry for the prosecutor to question their officer in preparation for trial and the defense attorney for cross examination.
IMPORTANT: It is essential that if there is any disclosure of a disability the officer record that information in their report.
IMPORTANT: Never forget that scientific validity comes from the fact that the test instructions are given in a standardized manner.
The Walk and Turn has two phases. 1. Instruction stage and 2. Walking phase. These are all psychophysical tests in which the person in required to received instructions and perform tasks.
ASIDE 8: When one is impaired and trying to drive they lose the ability to perform the multiple functions necessary to drive in a proper and safe manner. For example, you might be able to focus on staying in a lane, but not react quickly to making a turn. In the Walk and Turn and One Leg Stand, the subject must listen to instructions and perform physical tasks. This attempts to mimic the complexity of driving while impaired.
ASIDE 9: If the officer omits instructions or does the demonstration incorrectly it flaws the test. At any hearing the attorney must know the instructions by heart!! Subject must be asked if they understand at each breaking point and must give a verbal response.
Walk and Turn-InstructionsThe instructions for the Walk and Turn are:
1. Put your left foot on a line real or imaginary(?). Officer then demonstrates
2. Place your right foot in front of your left foot , with the heel of the right foot against the toe of your left foot.
3. Maintain that position until I have completed the instructions.
4. Do not start waking until told to do so.
5. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE INSTUCTIONS SO FAR (Need to get affirmative response)
6. When I tell you to start, take a series of 9 heel to toe steps, turn and take a series of 9 heel to toe steps down the line. Officer demonstrates three heel to toe steps
7. When you turn keep the front (lead) foot on the line and turn by taking a series of small steps with the other foot. Demonstrates turn and minimum of three heel to toe steps down the line
8. While you are walking, keep your arms at your sides, watch your feet at all times, and count your steps out loud
9. Once you start walking, don*t stop until you have completed the test
10. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE INSTUCTIONS (Need to get affirmative response)
11. Tell subject to begin test
The officer must demonstrate how to do the steps (only 3 are required) and how to do the turn.
Walk and Turn-ScoringIMPORTANT: There are eight clues the officer may observe during the walk and turn
1. Cannot keep balance while listening to instructions-***Only if breaks heel to toe. This clue does not come into play if swaying or using arms to balance
2. Starts too soon-***Only counts if he was told not to start until directed to do so
3. Stops while walking-***It is not a clue if subject is just walking slowly. MUST ACTUALLY STOP
4. Does not touch heel to toe
--*** MUST BE AT LEAST * INCH GAP FOR THIS CLUE-LEO ARE NOT ASKED THIS QUESTION, OR HOW THEY MEASURED IT
5. Steps off the line
6. Uses arms to balance-**** At least 6 inches one or both arms
7. Improper turn
8. Incorrect number of steps
Total of 8 clues on Walk & Turn. Recent study indicate that 2 or more clues suggest impairment of over .08
Aside 10: It flaws the scoring if the officer incorrectly scores clues that have specific requirements
Aside 11: Mistakes seen repeatedly is officer telling subject to *pivot*, and failure to take three steps after demonstrating turn