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What should you know about field sobriety tests?

On Behalf of | May 19, 2020 | criminal defense

When officers suspect Washington residents of drunk driving, they may administer tests. The first test suspected DUI drivers often take is a field sobriety test. Today we will take a look at what a field sobriety test is and how courts use them in DUI cases. looks at field sobriety tests. There are two types: standardized and non-standardized. Non-standardized tests are rarely used in court. They do not present strong evidence because they have no universal standards. Standardized field sobriety tests see more use. But even standardized test results are not fully protected from contest. Because of this, they are often supplemental evidence instead of primary proof.

There are three types of non-standardized field sobriety tests. They include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk-and-turn and the one-leg stand. Each test checks a suspected driver for potential signs of intoxication. This includes:

  • If the driver can balance
  • How well they listen to instructions
  • How well they are able to carry these instructions out
  • If their gaze has a “shake” to it
  • If they have trouble with fine motor skills

These are often warning signs that a driver may be under the influence. If an officer finds the field sobriety results to be questionable, other tests may follow. This can include breath tests or blood tests, as these usually give a more definitive answer. Courts often consider them more accurate.

Field sobriety tests see frequent use due to their non-invasive nature. For this reason, many people pulled over on suspicion for DUI will likely run into it. It is important to understand what it’s about.