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New Jersey DWI Walk-and-Turn Tests

Drivers should understand the three field sobriety tests standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These tests include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, the One-Leg Stand test, and the Walk-and-Turn test. If an officer administered the walk-and-turn test in your case, you may wish to discuss your situation with New Jersey DWI lawyer Steven Hernandez.

The Walk-and-Turn (WAT) test relies on eight clues to determine a driver’s impairment. If the officer identifies at least two of the eight clues during the walk-and-turn test, the officer may conclude that the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is higher than 0.10%.

The first two clues require evaluation by the officer while the driver stands heel-to-toe and listens to the officer’s instructions. At this point, the officer considers whether the driver cannot remain balanced or continue standing in the heel-to-toe stance. The second clue requires the officer to see whether the driver starts walking before instructed to do so.

The additional clues of impairment evaluate the driver during the walking stage of the field sobriety test. These clues include: a pause of several seconds during the walk; failure to walk using heel-to-toe by a gap of more than 1/2 inch; placement of a foot completely off the line to be walked; raising of the driver’s arms by more than six inches during the walk; an incorrect number of steps taken or a failure to follow instructions; and an improper turn.

The officer must properly execute the walk-and-turn test. Officer instructions require performance of the test with a designated straight line on a non-slippery surface that is relatively level, hard, and dry. The officer must allow for the removal of shoes with heels over two inches in height. Furthermore, the officer must consider the possibility that drivers with middle ear, leg, or back problems, as well as drivers over the age of 65, may experience difficulties with this test.

As lawyer who specializes in DWI defense, Steven W. Hernandez has received advanced training in standardized field sobriety testing. In March, 2010, he completed the DUI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing course, the same course offered to police officer throughout the country to detect impaired drivers. IN September, 2011, Mr. Hernandez, became one of a handful of lawyers in New Jersey to become an Instructor in DUI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. In addition, Steven Hernandez is the only New Jersey lawyer with his Forensic Sobriety Assessment (FSA) certificate, by demonstrating knowledge of the science and forensic use of roadside sobriety testing.