A Full-Service Law Firm

How do standardized and non-standardized field sobriety tests differ?

On Behalf of | Jun 29, 2020 | drunk driving defense |

Florida drivers like you may not know what to expect when asked to take a field sobriety test. You may have seen them in television shows before, but how accurate is that to real life? 

Field sobriety tests are a common tool law enforcement uses. They often decide if you should undergo other BAC level testing based on the result of this test. But what are these tests? How are they used? 

Rubrics make for fairer testing 

FieldSobrietyTests.org look at both standardized and non-standardized field sobriety tests. Both see use at times, but standardized field sobriety tests are much more common. First, they have a set rubric by which all tests get graded. This makes them less biased than non-standardized field sobriety tests. This version leaves the judgment up to the officer administering the test. This means there is room for bias. 

There are many versions of non-standardized field sobriety tests because of this. Officers may use these tests. But they do not hold as much sway in court due to the potential of flawed or biased test results. 

Three types of standardized field sobriety tests 

By comparison, there are three types of standardized field sobriety tests. This includes the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the one-legged stand and the walk-and-turn. The first checks your eyes for unusual movement typical in intoxicated people. The second and third check your balance and coordination. 

If you fail any field sobriety test, you may not face arrest immediately. Instead, an officer may decide to administer another test to check. This may be a blood test or a breath test. Field sobriety test results are not solid evidence in court. Because of this, officers often use other measures to confirm or refute a result.