What are field sobriety tests?

On Behalf of | Aug 19, 2020 | DUI

In South Carolina, laws against DUI result in harsh penalties for the convicted. What do you do if an officer pulls you over on suspicion of DUI? Is there anything you should prepare yourself for? 

You are most likely going to face a field sobriety test of some sort. This means it is beneficial if you understand what field sobriety tests are and how they work. 

Non-standardized vs standardized field sobriety tests

FieldSobrietyTests.org breaks down all information about field sobriety tests. First, there are two types: standardized and non-standardized. Non-standardized tests see less use despite the fact that there are more of them. Why? Because there is a strong potential for bias to affect the results. With non-standardized tests, the testing officer makes a decision with their own judgment. 

Standardized tests have a set rubric, though. This allows officers to judge the test based off of the rubric. Their judgment is not the only deciding factor. There are only three types of standardized field sobriety tests for that reason. They include the walk and turn, the one-legged stand and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. 

Field sobriety tests and their place in DUI testing

Field sobriety tests are often a first line of testing. If a test comes up inconclusive or failed, the officer may ask you to take others. These next tests can include breath or blood analysis tests. Because of the subjective nature of field sobriety tests, they do not stand up to scrutiny in court. They are not used as primary evidence for this reason. This is crucial to keep in mind. If you fail a field sobriety test, it is not the end of the world.