What are field sobriety tests?
We Get Results
FindLaw Network
  1. Home
  2.  | 
  3. DUI
  4.  | What are field sobriety tests?

What are field sobriety tests?

Before you hit the road, it is crucial to understand how local law handles instances of driving under the influence. Each state handles DUI crimes in a different way. But many use the same detection tools on the road. 

Field sobriety tests are one of these tools. No matter where you are, you may have to take one if an officer suspects you of driving under the influence. 

Non-standardized vs. standardized tests

VeryWell Mind examines field sobriety tests, which serve as a primary detection tool for police. You can find two categories of these tests: standardized and non-standardized. Standardized tests have a unified rubric that all officers across the nation must use when judging the results. Non-standardized tests lack this. That is one of the reasons they are less common. It allows more room for officer bias, as their judgment is the only deciding factor. 

Three standardized sobriety tests

There are three standardized field sobriety tests, compared to numerous non-standardized ones. Again, this is because standardized tests must all fit a uniform rubric, which takes time to approve. The three standardized tests include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the one-legged stand and the walk-and-turn. 

Each test checks your balance, dexterity, agility and mobility. Officers also use it as a chance to measure your logic, reasoning and ability to follow instructions. Also, the horizontal gaze nystagmus reveals a potential quiver in your eye while in motion that appears exaggerated when intoxicated. 

Officers often use these tests to decide if they should administer further testing, like breath or blood tests. Field sobriety test results are not used as primary evidence in court. 

FindLaw Network