What should you know about field sobriety tests?

On Behalf of | Jan 14, 2021 | Drunk Driving

It is important to understand the tools officers can use to detect alcohol use in drivers. One of the most common tools are a battery of tests referred to as field sobriety tests. If an officer suspects you of drinking and driving, you will likely face one. 

As such, it is crucial to understand how these tests work. They may have an impact on your future, after all. 

Standardized vs. non-standardized tests

VeryWell Mind looks into field sobriety tests in more detail. First, there are two types of tests: non-standardized and standardized. You are most likely to have a standardized test. This is because non-standardized tests hold a greater margin of error. There is more chance for officer bias to influence results, too. Non-standardized tests do not have a unified rubric for officers to use. Thus, they must make their own judgment call. 

There are three types of standardized tests compared to the numerous non-standardized ones. They include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk-and-turn and the one-legged stand. Each test checks your balance, mobility, dexterity and ability to follow instructions. The horizontal gaze nystagmus also checks your eye for wavering when in motion. This waver is present even when sober, but alcohol often makes it more pronounced. 

How officers use field sobriety tests

Officers often utilize this test as a way to see if they need further testing. In some cases, they may use a failed field sobriety test as a reasonable cause for arrest, but this is rarer. Field sobriety tests do not stand as solid evidence in court, either. But the prosecution can still use it against you. Thus, it is crucial to take field sobriety tests and their results seriously.