Mark A. Di Carlo, Pllc Criminal Defense, SSDI, Erisa, And Personal Injury

Serving In Corpus Christi And Throughout The Region

Tell Us About Your Situation | 800-584-5798

Experienced Legal Advice During Times Of Crisis
Mark A. Di Carlo, PLLC Attorney at Law Office Building

What are standardized field sobriety tests?

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2023 | DWI |

Most people have heard of field sobriety tests before. However, fewer know about standardized field sobriety tests.

What is the difference between standardized and non-standard field sobriety tests? More importantly, do the differences matter?

Types of standardized field sobriety tests

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discusses field sobriety tests. Two types exist: standardized and non-standardized. There are only three types of standardized field sobriety tests currently.

These three tests include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk-and-turn and the one-legged stand. The first test checks for a waver in a person’s eye that often appears due to intoxication. The walk-and-turn and one-legged stand both check for balance.

All three tests check for a person’s ability to follow and understand instructions, as well as their coherent speech, thought and overall behavior.

What are the differences?

The difference is that standardized sobriety tests all have a set of guidelines that all officers must use. By comparison, non-standard tests do not have these guidelines. This means officers can interpret the test results however they like.

Because of that room for interpretation, it allows for a more significant possibility of an officer’s bias impacting and changing how they might rate a person’s intoxication. Due to that, many officers will avoid using these less strict versions of the test.

However, neither type of test typically gets admitted as serious evidence in a court case. This is because all field sobriety tests are objective to a degree, as they rely on imperfect and human methods to determine intoxication levels.