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What are standardized field sobriety tests?

| Apr 15, 2021 | DUI

Officers may use field sobriety tests when checking for your sobriety level. Of these tests, they have two separate options. Will they use a non-standardized field sobriety test, or a standardized one? 

What are the differences between these two tests? Does the type of test you take affect the result you get? And why are field sobriety tests so common? 

Why are standardized tests used?

According to Very Well Mind, there is a difference between non-standardized and standardized field sobriety tests. First, the type of test you take should not affect the result, but that is not always the case. Non-standardized tests do not have any rubric officers use. This means their “grading” of drivers is entirely self-reliant on their own perspective. In other words, there is ample room for bias to slip through. 

This is also what differentiates the two types of tests, and why standardized tests are much more common. Standardized tests do use a uniform rubric. On top of that, there are only three standardized field sobriety tests. This makes it easy to keep track of potential changes and more. 

Types of standardized tests

These three tests include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk-and-turn and the one-legged stand. Each test checks for your balance, ability to follow directions and coordination. The horizontal gaze nystagmus also checks your vision for a waver that worsens after consumption of alcohol. 

Note that there are many reasons for negative test results that have nothing to do with alcohol. Because of this, courts do not always give much weight to a field sobriety test result. This can potentially impact the outcome of your trial and your subsequent criminal record.