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What are standardized field sobriety tests?

Officers have many tools in their arsenal when dealing with potential cases of DUI. If they pull you over on a routine traffic stop and anticipate that you may have hit the road while intoxicated, what will they do?

They will likely require you to take a field sobriety test, first. And you are most likely to face a standardized field sobriety test, too. But what are these tests?

The problem of officer bias

VeryWell Mind discusses field sobriety tests and their place in DUI law. Field sobriety tests serve as an initial potential measure of how intoxicated a person might be. However, these tests have no solid scientific basis behind them. This sets it apart from blood or breath analysis tests, which measure parts of the body for signs of the presence of alcohol.

Field sobriety tests instead rely on an officer’s perception of how a participant completes the test. This is why standardized field sobriety tests came into being. These tests often ended up plagued by officer bias. Without any rubric by which to judge, the result of the test ended up entirely in the hands of the testing officer.

Three types of tests

There are three types of standardized field sobriety tests compared to the handfuls of non-standardized tests. This is because it takes time to create a rubric for the standardized versions that all officers must use and abide by. The three types include the walk-and-turn, the horizontal gaze nystagmus and the one-legged stand.

However, both standardized and non-standardized tests hold the same issue with potential bias influence. Because of that, the courts do not take them as decisive evidence. This is something to keep in mind if you end up failing yours.