What are standardized field sobriety tests?

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2020 | Firm News

How do officers check New Jersey drivers they suspect of DUI? There are many tools they use. Field sobriety tests are among them.

There are both standardized and non-standardized tests. Today we will take a look at standardized tests and their function on the field.

Non-standardized vs standardized field sobriety tests

FieldSobrietyTests.org looks at both non-standardized and standardized field sobriety tests. Standardized field sobriety tests differ in one significant way. These tests have a rubric by which officers measure results. All officers use this rubric. This means the test results have a common standard they follow. Non-standardized tests do not have this. It is up to each police officer to decide if a person passes or fails the test. This is much more subjective.

There are only three types of standardized tests. This includes the walk-and-turn, the one-leg stand and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. Each test checks balance, coordination and cognitive functions. They examine how capable a driver is.

Why standardized tests are more common

Because of how subjective non-standardized tests are, officers use them less often. They rely on the relative objective nature of a test with a rubric used across the board, instead. Courts are often more accepting of these tests when presented as evidence.

You should know that any field sobriety test is not solid evidence, though. Even standardized field sobriety tests are a somewhat subjective method. It cannot determine if someone is driving under the influence with perfect accuracy. There are many reasons not related to alcohol that explain failing standardized tests. This is why officers often run more tests than this. Many also take blood samples or breath samples as well.