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What are field sobriety tests?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2021 | DUI |

If you fall under officer suspicion of a DUI during a routine traffic stop, you will likely have to do a form of sobriety testing. Though breath and blood analysis tests get the most attention in the media, they are not likely the tests you will face first.

Instead, an officer will likely administer a field sobriety test. But just what are these tests, and how do they affect and impact you?

Types of field sobriety tests

VeryWell Mind takes a look at field sobriety tests. First, there are two types: standardized and non-standardized. Standardized tests get judged by a unified rubric which all officers across the country must use. They were an attempt to stop officer bias from having such a strong hand in dictating field sobriety test results.

There are three types of standardized field sobriety tests. They include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk-and-turn and the one-legged stand. The first test checks for the movement of your eye when following an object, which wavers after the introduction of alcohol in the system. The second and third check your coordination and balance. All three check for your ability to follow directions. An officer will keep an eye on your behavior as well.

Non-standardized tests can include anything from reciting the alphabet backward to touching the tip of your nose with your finger. You are less likely to see these tests, as they hold less weight in court.

Results of failing a field sobriety test

If you fail a field sobriety test, the results might not have an enormous impact due to court’s awareness of officer bias. However, it can still lead to other problems like justification for arrest or further testing. Do not stress about it, but take it seriously.

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