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What is the function of a field sobriety test?

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2021 | Traffic Violations |

When an officer pulls you over in a routine traffic stop and suspects you of driving under the influence, what comes next? They have a slew of tools at their disposal, and they will use these to confirm or deny their suspicions.

Field sobriety tests are one of the first tools in their arsenal. But what are they? How do they work? And what is their overall function in a DWI arrest and charge?

Field sobriety tests as supporting evidence

Very Well Mind examines field sobriety tests and their uses. As mentioned, field sobriety tests serve as a way to help an officer tell if you are driving under the influence. But the first thing to note is that it is not decisive evidence. If you fail a field sobriety test, it is not the end of the road for you. In fact, many courts do not use these results as evidence. An officer may simply use it to prove that they had a reason to conduct further testing or had probable cause to arrest.

Field sobriety tests are not an exact science. This is why they cannot act as decisive evidence. Even standardized field sobriety tests have room for officer bias to affect the end result.

Uses of field sobriety tests

Despite this, field sobriety tests often see use if an officer wants to give you a breath or blood analysis test. In many cases, it does not work in the officer’s favor to launch directly into one of these tests. They are more invasive, especially blood analysis tests. Instead, they seek a reason to make requesting these tests look more valid. As such, these tests and their results can still end up impacting your case as a whole.