DUI: Walk and Turn Test

November 15, 2016

By Vannoy Law Firm


Rarely does a DUI case encompass evidence retrieved using the materials in the picture above.  In South Carolina, as in many states, officers rely on a three test battery to help determine whether or not probable cause exists to make an arrest.  The three tests are (1) the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, which tests for involuntary jerking of the eyes which allegedly is an indicator of alcohol consumption (2) the Walk and Turn test, which ostensibly tests a subject's balance and coordination but is also a divided attention test which I will discuss below in a little more detail and (3) the One-Legged Stand Test which again ostensibly tests a subject's balance and coordination but is also a divided attention test.

Most folks think the Walk and Turn test is pretty simply–walk a straight line down–turn around–walk a straight line back.  However what the officer does not tell you is that she/he is actually looking at a lot more.  "In the walk and turn test, the subject is directed to take nine steps, heel-to-toe, along a straight line. After taking the steps, the suspect must turn on one foot and return in the same manner in the opposite direction. The examiner looks for eight indicators of impairment: if the suspect cannot keep balance while listening to the instructions, begins before the instructions are finished, stops while walking to regain balance, does not touch heel-to-toe, steps off the line, uses arms to balance, makes an improper turn, or takes an incorrect number of steps." (quoting Appendix A: Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/alcohol/sfst/appendix_a.htm (last visited Oct. 24, 2014).  State v. Taylor, 411 S.C. 294, 302 n.8, 768 S.E.2d 71, 75 n.8 (Ct. App. 2014).

Understandably most people are extremely nervous when asked to perform these "tasks", the success or failure of which determines his or her liberty.  That coupled with road conditions, age, physical fitness, and a host of other factors understandably may produce substandard results. 

Take Always:

  1. A person has the right to refuse all field sobriety tests.
  2. A person has the right to talk to an attorney before answering questions.
  3. I would suggest readers memorize lines 1 and 2…

If you have been arrested for a DUI, drug charge, assault charge, or any other criminal offense in South Carolina please call my office to schedule a free interview.   I also handle driver's license issues, parole cases, and other matters.  If you have questions about a search warrant, arrest warrant, or any other issue involving your personal rights and liberty, please feel free to contact my office as well.  At my office, you will receive a free interview in criminal cases.  If retained, I will go about protecting your initial court appearance, if possible, and begin investigating the case.  If you have questions about a criminal or DUI case or questions about this article, feel free to contact me at (843) 761-0610.  If you would like to read more about South Carolina's DUI and criminal laws, copy/paste this link into your search heading https://bradyvannoy.com/blog/

If you have questions regarding a DUI or criminal case in Berkeley, Charleston, or Dorchester County, please contact my office today at (843) 761-0610 or through the contact page on this website.

DSC_0333Brady Vannoy is a criminal defense lawyer in Berkeley County, South Carolina.  He carries a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating.  According to the rating system, "AV Preeminent(r) is a significant rating accomplishment – a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence."

He regularly defends cases in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties.  Brady is a member of the South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and The National Trial Lawyers, Top 100.  Brady defends DUI and all types of criminal cases in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties along with other areas of the South Carolina low country.  He can be reached at (843) 761-0610, brady@vannoymurphy.com, or through the contact page on this website.

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