Why are field sobriety tests flawed?

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2020 | DWI

Officers in Missouri often rely on field sobriety test for early DUI detection. After getting the test results, an officer may decide they want to give you other tests. But how reliable are field sobriety tests?

Today we will look at the ways in which these tests have flaws. This may help you understand where you stand if you fail a field sobriety test.

Standardized and non-standardized tests and flaws

FieldSobrietyTests.org look at standardized and non-standardized forms of testing. Non-standardized testing is a more subjective form. This is because it does not have a rubric by which officers grade results. This means results hinge on an officer’s interpretation of your test. Confirmation bias or personal bias may color these results.

They use standardized testing more often for this reason. But this does not mean standardized tests maintain solid objectivity. In fact, courts often consider both types of field sobriety tests subjective to a degree.

The subjectivity of field sobriety tests

This is because an officer often cannot pin a failed sobriety test on DUI reasons. For example, let us look at the one-legged stand. This test checks a person’s balance. The idea is that a person’s balance gets worse the less sober they are. But did you know certain medical conditions contribute to balance as well? This means someone with certain illnesses or conditions may fail a test. This is despite being completely sober.

This happens even with the three types of standardized field sobriety tests. Courts and officers keep this in mind when seeing test results. You should also keep this in mind. It means you will not face conviction based on a failed sobriety test alone.