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What are standardized field sobriety tests?

Officers have many tools they can use to potentially measure sobriety levels. One of them is the field sobriety test. This is often the first thing you will experience if an officer suspects you are driving under the influence.

But what is a standardized field sobriety test? How does it impact you? Will it potentially alter your chances of arrest?

Types of standardized field sobriety tests

VeryWell Mind examines standardized field sobriety tests. They differ from non-standardized tests in that they all have a unified rubric. This rubric is in place as an attempt to keep officer bias from affecting the test results. There are only three standardized tests compared to the numerous non-standardized tests because of this.

These three tests include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the one-legged stand and the walk-and-turn. The horizontal gaze nystagmus checks a waver in your eye while it is in motion. This waver is almost always present. But it is more notable when intoxicated.

The one-legged stand and walk-and-turn test your balance and dexterity. Through these tests, officers try to see if you cannot walk in a straight line or maintain balance on one leg. They also use all three tests to see if you can listen to, understand and carry out directions.

Will it have a big impact on you?

Note that field sobriety test results of any sort do not typically hold much weight in court, though. After all, field sobriety tests are not a scientific tool of measurement. All forms require interpretation and allow room for officer bias. You should take a failed field sobriety test seriously, but do not treat it like the end of the world.