What are standardized field sobriety tests?
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What are standardized field sobriety tests?

| Aug 21, 2020 | Firm News |

Oregon drivers like you need to know your rights when pulled over. You should also know what to do if an officer decides to test you for the presence of alcohol in your blood. 

They will likely start with a field sobriety test. As such, it is important to focus on this type of testing first. What are they? How do they work? And how important are the test results in court? 

Why is standardized field sobriety testing used?

FieldSobrietyTests.org examines the purpose of standardized field sobriety testing. These often replace non-standardized field sobriety testing, which suffers from officer bias. With non-standardized tests, the officer alone decides on the result. With standardized tests, the officer must check results against a universal rubric. 

There are only three types of standardized field sobriety tests, too. Compared to this, there are many more non-standardized tests. The three standardized tests include: 

  • The horizontal gaze nystagmus 
  • The walk-and-turn 
  • The one-legged stand 

What officers are looking for

These tests look for signs of intoxication. The primary things they check are your balance and dexterity. Officers also look for your ability to follow instructions. They will take your demeanor and the words you say into consideration, too. They are looking at every little thing you do to paint a picture of sobriety (or lack thereof). 

With the horizontal gaze nystagmus, officers look for a small shake in your eye. This shake is normal and present in every person. But in intoxicated people, it is much more noticeable. 

If an officer determines that you failed the test or that results were inconclusive, more testing may follow. It is at this point that you will likely deal with breath or blood tests.