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What are the types of standardized field sobriety tests?

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2020 | DUI Charges

In California, an officer who suspects you of driving under the influence may administer a test. Though you may think of breath and blood tests firsts, you could actually face a different test before either of those.

These are field sobriety tests and an officer often uses them to determine if they need further testing. Standardized field sobriety tests are most common and what you are likely to see.

How many field sobriety tests are there? points out that there are three types of standardized field sobriety tests. Compare this to non-standardized field sobriety tests, of which there are many. This is due in part to the standardized rubric that standardized field sobriety tests follow. It takes longer to standardize a test, which is why there are fewer of them than non-standardized tests.

The three field sobriety tests in question are the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk-and-turn and the one-legged stand. These tests check your ability to follow instructions and carry out tasks. The last two test your balance, mobility and dexterity. The first test looks at a tremor in your eye called a nystagmus. This tremor is always present but it becomes more noticeable after consuming alcohol.

Probable causes to arrest

An officer may also use this as a chance to look for a probable cause to arrest. These are clues in your appearance or behavior that point toward the possibility of intoxication. For example, red eyes and the smell of alcohol on your breath are both probable causes to arrest when looked at in tandem with failed sobriety tests.

Just remember that field sobriety tests and probable causes to arrest are not condemning evidence. Even if you fail a test, it is not the end of the line for you.