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What are standardized field sobriety tests?

On Behalf of | May 21, 2020 | Criminal Law |

What do police in Montana do when they pull someone over that they suspect of DUI? They have many tools in their arsenal. Today, we will discuss just one of them.

We will take a look into field sobriety testing. In specific, we will look at standardized field sobriety tests. These differ from non-standardized tests due to a universal rubric that officers use. This means results rely less on officer bias.

The universal rubric of DUIs

FieldSobrietyTests.org define standardized field sobriety testing. As mentioned above, these tests have a universal rubric. Officers across the board use this rubric to determine someone’s sobriety levels. This keeps personal bias from interfering in results.

There are only three types of standardized field sobriety tests. This includes the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk-and-turn and the one-leg stand. These tests check a person’s balance and ability to follow instructions. They also test coordination. Alcohol tends to impact these areas first, which is why officers check them.

Standardized field sobriety tests as evidence

Note that standardized field sobriety tests do not stand on their own as evidence of DUI. This is because there are many causes for a failed field sobriety test. For example, someone may have poor balance due to health conditions. But if a person fails a field sobriety test, the officer may ask them to take other tests. This can include breath or blood alcohol content tests. In comparison, these tests have higher accuracy ratings.

If you fail a field sobriety test, it is not the end of the road. But be sure to treat the situation as the serious matter it is.