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What are standardized field sobriety tests?

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2023 | Drunk Driving |

When drivers look as though they are committing crimes, such as drunk driving, then the police may perform traffic stops. A driver may look suspicious of drunk driving if they drive between lanes, run lights, speed or drive erratically. To help gather evidence, the police may ask the driver to do a standardized field sobriety test.

Standardized field sobriety tests are a kind of physical examination. These tests often require drivers to move around rigorously. The police may notice certain movements during these tests that indicate inebriation. There are several kinds of standardized field sobriety tests that can be used. Here’s what you should know:

Horizontal gaze nystagmus test

The police may ask the driver to keep their focus on a single object, like a finger or pen. The police will then move the object horizontally. The driver’s eyes should flicker as they keep their focus, but too much flickering could suggest they are drunk.

Walk-and-turn test

The driver may be asked to walk on a straight line toe-to-heal. If the driver takes more or less steps than instructed, walks off the line, stumbles or makes any strange movements, then the police may suspect they are inebriated.

One-legged stand test

A standardized field sobriety test may involve the driver standing on one leg. The driver may be asked to keep their leg lifted for several seconds. If the driver can’t keep balance, then the driver may be drunk.

Non-standardized field sobriety tests

Any other kind of field sobriety test may be considered non-standardized. A non-standardized field sobriety test may involve the driver listing the alphabet backward, for example, or performing math equations.

People facing criminal charges for drunk driving need to learn about their right to a defense.

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