What differentiates standardized and non-standardized field sobriety tests?

October 9, 2020
What differentiates standardized and non-standardized field sobriety tests?

Missouri residents like you may face a field sobriety test if suspected of driving while intoxicated. DWI charges are not made lightly in the state and an arresting officer often needs solid proof of suspicion before making an arrest.

Field sobriety tests are the first in a line of potential testing you could deal with. Two types of testing are non-standardized and standardized.

The impact of standardized vs. non-standardized test results

FieldSobrietyTests.org looks at how standardized and non-standardized field sobriety tests differ. First, there are many more non-standardized tests. They do not undergo the same regulations as standardized tests. They do not need a unified rubric across all states, so it is easier for these tests to come into being.

This means non-standardized tests hold less impact in court. They do not have a standardized rubric, which means officer bias may impact and influence the test results more heavily.

What do the tests check for?

There are only three types of standardized field sobriety tests by comparison. This includes the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk-and-turn and the one-legged stand. Each test checks your ability to listen to and follow instructions. The first one examines the tremor in your eye, known as a nystagmus. This tremor is present always, but often becomes more prominent after imbibing alcohol.

The last two tests check for balance and coordination. Your physical capabilities diminish as your blood alcohol content level rises. Many intoxicated people struggle to walk in a straight line or stand upright with mildly compromised balance.

Know that regardless of which type of test you take, field sobriety tests are not considered the nail in the coffin. You will still have plenty of room to argue your case.


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