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What is the walk-and-turn field sobriety test?

If you have ever wondered what really happens during a traffic stop when officers begin to pursue a potential drunk driving arrest in Virginia, you are not alone. Many drivers have wondered the same thing and having an idea about this can be important for people because virtually anyone can find themselves in this situation. One thing to know is that the field sobriety tests used, although sanctioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, are not 100-percent accurate.

According to, one of the tests called the walk-and-turn test, has an accuracy rate of 66 percent at best. During this test, you may be evaluated when actually taking the steps as well as when listening to instructions. The instruction phase is when an officer demonstrates and explains what you are to do. If you for some reason start taking steps too soon, that may work against you.

Once allowed to begin, you must walk a set number of steps exactly as shown and count each step as you take it. You must walk with your heels and toes together in a perfectly straight line forward, turn around and then return to your original location in the same manner. You are not allowed to use your arms to maintain your balance either during instruction or while performing the test. 

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give drivers in Virginia an idea of what to expect during a drunk driving stop and how accurate the testing used might be or not be.

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