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Should you worry about field sobriety tests?

On Behalf of | Oct 31, 2020 | DUI

Texas drivers like you should understand how Texas handles crimes related to alcohol and driving. Many consider Texas to hold particularly harsh laws and penalties when it comes to driving under the influence. 

Field sobriety tests are one of the many tools at the disposal of law enforcement here. What should you know about these tests? How accurate are they? What is their purpose? 

Standardized vs non-standardized tests

FieldSobrietyTests.org looks at standardized field sobriety tests. Of the two types – standardized and non-standardized – this is the one you are more likely to run into. This is because non-standardized field sobriety tests lack a uniform rubric for grading. As such, the determination of whether you pass or fail rests on the officer giving you the test. This leaves a lot of room for officer bias. 

There are only three types of standardized tests because of this. They include the walk-and-turn, the one-leg stand and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. However, all types of field sobriety tests share similar purposes. They check physical and mental signs of intoxication. This includes your balance, dexterity and cooperation. It also includes how well you comprehend and carry out instructions. 

What field sobriety tests are used for

Field sobriety tests are not often a tool of conviction, though. They are not based on hard science. Because of this, they do not stand up well in court as evidence. Instead, an officer may use a failed field sobriety test as a reason to arrest you. Once in custody, they can potentially collect other pieces of evidence that might hold more weight. Because of this, you should still treat field sobriety test results seriously.