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Are field sobriety test results serious?

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2021 | Drunk Driving Charges |

When an officer pulls you over on suspicion of intoxicated driving, they have many tools at their disposal to test this matter. Most people think of breath analysis tests first, but in reality, you are not likely to run into this.

Instead, an officer will likely give you a field sobriety test first. What are these tests and what do the results mean for you?

Standardized vs. non-standardized tests

VeryWell Mind takes a look into how field sobriety tests work. First, field sobriety tests are a form of testing with no tool of measurement beyond an officer’s judgment. Because of that, you have standardized and non-standardized tests. The former came into being in an attempt to combat officer bias affecting test results. There are three types of standardized field sobriety test. They include the walk and turn, the one-legged stand and the horizontal gaze nystagmus.

The existence of officer bias

But officer bias can still play a role even in these tests. The court is aware of this, too. Because of that, a judge will not often place great importance on the results of a field sobriety test. In most cases, they see use as supporting evidence for other test results, such as breath or blood analysis tests. An officer may also use it as proof that they had a reasonable cause to arrest you, if they did at the scene.

In essence, a failed field sobriety test will not end in your conviction or even your arrest. But it can still support other evidence and end up used against you, so you should treat it seriously.