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How are field sobriety tests used?

On Behalf of | Aug 19, 2020 | Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving Defense

Minnesota drivers like you should familiarize yourself with DUI laws in the state. This not only includes potential penalties you may face if convicted of a charge. It also includes learning how law enforcement goes about finding out who is driving under the influence.

One of the first things you will look at are field sobriety tests. These tests have seen employment for decades. But like all other tools, they have their potential flaws.

Standardized versus non-standardized tests

FieldSobrietyTests.org look at both types of field sobriety tests: non-standardized and standardized. Standardized field sobriety tests are what you are more likely to run into. This is because officer bias often influences non-standardized field sobriety test results. Only standardized field sobriety tests have a rubric that all law enforcement officers must use. By contrast, non-standardized tests lack this rubric. The results are thus examined with only the testing officer’s opinion.

The inaccuracies of field sobriety tests

But even standardized field sobriety tests are not an exact science. This is why they are often used as a first line of testing. If you fail a field sobriety test or results are inconclusive, the officer may give you more tests. These can include more conclusive ones like breath or blood alcohol level tests.

Keep the fickle nature of these tests and their results in mind. Know that failing a field sobriety test of any sort does not prove your guilt. In fact, many courts do not look at failed field sobriety test results as more than supplementary evidence. So do not be anxious, but learn as much as you can about how your county handles field sobriety test results.