Walk and Turn Test in KS & MO
The Walk and Turn is a field sobriety test that is used to evaluate a driver's level of impairment. The Walk and Turn is one of three methods that have been certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The two other certified tests are the One-Leg Stand and HGN. These three have been researched and standardized by the NHTSA.
Walk and Turn Procedure in Kansas and Missouri
The Walk and Turn, like the other standardized tests, is fairly simple to perform. It consists of two parts and the driver will begin after the officer has explained the procedure. In addition, the officer should also demonstrate what is expected of the driver. This will help to alleviate any confusion for the driver.
The officer will have the driver put one foot in front of the other. The driver's feet should be in a straight line and the heel of one foot should be touching the toes of the other foot. Next, the officer will demonstrate and explain how the driver should walk along a designated straight line.
The driver is instructed to take nine heel-to-toe steps. After the driver has completed the initial nine steps, he should turn, and repeat the process going the opposite direction. Throughout the entire evaluation, the driver should be keeping his hands at his sides. He must watch his feet and count his steps out loud. The driver is told to complete the entire process without stopping.
The Intoxication Clues that Kansas and Missouri Officers Look for
Before the exam even begins, an initial sign of intoxication is if the driver begins before the officer has instructed the driver to do so or the driver does not follow the officer's instructions.
During the examination, the officer will be looking for different clues that will tend to show that the driver has been operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Generally, if the officer observes two or more of these “intoxication clues,” the driver will be arrested for DUI/DWI.
The following are considered indications that the driver is impaired:
- Stepping off the line;
- Using arms to balance;
- Failure to touch heel-to-toe;
- Making an Improper turn;
- Taking the incorrect number of steps; and
- Inability to maintain balance while receiving instructions.
The test should always be performed on a flat, dry surface. Further, if the driver is wearing heeled shoes higher than two inches, she should be allowed to remove them. In addition, certain medical conditions should prevent the driver from performing the Walk and Turn. These include back or middle ear problems and drivers over 65 years old may be incapable of completing the test.
Do You Need an Attorney?
NHTSA has set certain guidelines and standards that all officers should follow when they administer the Walk and Turn. However, these policies are not always followed and drivers can be unlawfully arrested.
If you have been arrested for DUI/DWI in Kansas or Missouri, it is best to work with an experienced defense attorney in your area. A seasoned DUI/DWI defense attorney understands the laws in your state and will work with you to ensure you receive the proper defense. You deserve to have your rights protected!