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What Is The Purpose Of The Field Sobriety Tests?

Whenever a police officer suspects that someone is driving while impaired and is endangering the public that police officer will probably stop the driver and there is an excellent chance that he will ask the driver to perform field sobriety tests. Police use field sobriety tests as a way of determining whether or not the person was safe to drive, as well as to determine whether or not they should arrest the driver for DWI.

Most of these types of tests are called standard field sobriety tests because they are supported by scientific data, and can be accepted in court as a way of determining whether or not someone was intoxicated or high. That said, some field sobriety tests are not scientifically based, and those nonstandard tests are often considered misleading are a waste of time and are often thrown out in court.

At What Point Is The Standardized Field Sobriety Test Administered?

When someone is stopped on the side of the road, the officer will come up to the vehicle and ask the driver a question, in order to solicit a response, in order to get a sense of whether the person is fit to drive and to confirm their suspicions of impairment. The officer will then request that person’s driver’s license registration and run them before going back to the car, asking the driver to get out and perform the field sobriety tests. At that point, the person is already under suspicion for driving under the influence and they’re just trying to collect evidence to support the case.

Police generally use field sobriety tests if they smell alcohol or witnessed some sort of bad driving behavior, because those tests only demonstrate that a person is unable to keep their balance, do multiple tasks at once or demonstrate good eye hand coordination, all of which supports their notion that the person was driving under the influence.

Is This Something That Has Been Going On For Years Or Is It Fairly Recent?

The standardized field sobriety tests have been around for years and their effectiveness has been researched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since the 1970s. Since then, the NHTSA has continued their research and they have changed some of them when they felt it was necessary. The research is designed to test whether or not the person had 0.01 percent blood-alcohol content (BAC), so they are not really designed to determine what is considered the legal standard of 0.08, although they continue to research tests to show that.

Are They Considered To Be Tests Or Are They More Like Exercises?

The standard field sobriety tests are definitely physical tests, and while the non-standard ones are also tests, they are not considered fair enough to report the results to the court. A common standard field sobriety test is the Walk and Turn test, in which the person walks on a straight line with 1 foot in front of the other, close enough to touch, with their hands down and their eyes looking straight ahead, continuing for none steps. During that test the officer will be checking for cues, or flaws in the test, mostly to see if the person can follow directions as well as to see if they can keep their balance.

If the person who was stopped shows six cues on the walk and turn test, the officer will assume that person is drunk. The standard field sobriety tests to have standard instructions and officers look for standard cues, but it’s not like a regular academic test in which a person can pass or fail; in fact, most people fail.

For more information on The Purpose Of Field Sobriety Tests, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (703) 691- 4366 today.

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