When an officer suspects you may have gotten behind the wheel under the influence, they have many tools that they may use to verify this suspicion. One of the first they will likely rely on is the field sobriety test.
But what is this test? And how does it play into the overall situation of a drunk driving offense? Can a failed field sobriety test single-handedly seal your arrest and conviction?
Bias in field sobriety tests
VeryWell Mind examines how field sobriety tests see use in action. First, there are two types of this test: standardized and non-standardized. Standardized field sobriety tests are an attempt to help keep officer bias from influencing test results. After all, field sobriety tests are not a scientific unit of measurement. They rely almost entirely on how an officer views a participant’s actions, words and behaviors.
Because of this, courts do not often accept field sobriety test results as crucial evidence. In other words, even if you fail one, you will likely not see it used against you as condemning evidence in court.
Proof of cause to arrest
But that does not mean field sobriety test results play no role at all. In fact, an officer can use failed field sobriety test results as proof that they had reasonable cause to make an arrest. They can also use it to justify further and potentially more invasive testing, such as blood or breath analysis tests.
In short, you should not get overly-anxious about these test results. At the same time, do not underestimate their importance or write them off entirely. Seek legal help to get through your trial in a smooth and efficient way.