What is a field sobriety test to you?

| Jun 9, 2021 | DUI |

If a police officer pulls you over on a routine traffic stop, they might test you if they have suspicion that you are driving under the influence. There are plenty of options they can choose from, too.

However, the first test you will likely face is a field sobriety test. But just what is this? And what happens if you fail it?

Failing a field sobriety test

VeryWell Mind examines the purpose of field sobriety testing. This acts as preliminary testing which officers may use to determine if they should test you further. In other words, if you fail a field sobriety test, you might then face a breath or blood analysis test.

However, a failed field sobriety test on its own does not hold much weight. This is due to the imperfect measurements it provides. Many field sobriety test results hinge on how an officer interprets your performance in the test. This leaves plenty of room for personal opinion and bias to sway the results.

The courts are aware of this bias, too. Because of that, they take failed field sobriety tests with a grain of salt. Likewise, prosecutors do not lean on them and often just use them as supporting evidence. Sometimes, an officer may just use it to prove that they had probable cause to arrest or perform other tests.

Standardized vs. non-standardized

Field sobriety tests come in two forms you should be aware of. They include standardized and non-standardized versions. The standardized ones are more common by virtue of eliminating some officer bias through rubrics all officers must use. You could end up facing either, though. If you do and fail your test, consider seeking legal help in the aftermath. After all, you do not want to treat a failed sobriety test like a joke even if it does not mean immediate damage.