Officers have several tools they can use to check levels of sobriety on the field. One of the first you are likely to run into is the field sobriety test. But what is it? How do they work?
Most important, what happens if you fail a field sobriety test? How much do you have to worry about it impacting your potential trial and the possibility of a conviction?
The use of field sobriety tests
Very Well Mind discusses field sobriety tests in detail. First, note that field sobriety tests are not perfectly accurate tools of measurement. In fact, sometimes a court will eliminate them from evidence due to officer bias or other factors. If you fail a field sobriety test, it is not the end of the line for you. Most often, it is better to focus on other test results, like breath or blood analysis.
Standardized vs. non-standardized tests
Next, know that you may take a standardized or non-standardized field sobriety test. But the former is much more popular than the latter. Why? Once again, officer bias comes into play. Non-standardized tests do not have uniform rubrics by which officers grade a participant. This means the results might end up heavily swayed by an officer’s personal opinion.
There are only three types of standardized field sobriety tests. This includes the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the one-legged stand and the walk-and-turn. Each test checks balance, coordination and your ability to follow instructions. But there is plenty of wiggle room for errors. This is why courts do not attribute much to these test results, and thus, you should not overly concern yourself with them.